Egypt's Main Business Sectors

Egypt got through the first round of the global economic meltdown, thanks to the banking sector reform of the past few years. However, the second round of economic crises has hit the country rather hard. The country's GDP's growth rate fell down to 4.7% for 2009, the last year for which data is available. The slower growth was attributed to domestic consumption, which represented almost 82% of GDP, and increased public investments.

In an effort to soften the blow dealt by the economic crisis, the government of Egypt put together a stimulus package, directing extra spending toward utility and infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on sanitation and water. Total investments remained steady for 2008-09, but the GDP level of investments actually decreased by three percent.

In 2008-09, the business sectors that contributed the most to Egypt's GDP were construction, ICT, and retail/wholesale trade. All sectors involving foreign transactions have been adversely affected by the economic downturn; revenues from the use of the Suez canal, tourism, and remittances from Egyptian expatriates are down. Due to fluctuations in price, gas and oil experts decreased by almost 25%. The Egyptian government took steps to mitigate the effect of the global economic crisis on the country's economy; macroeconomic policies were loosened and programs were started in order to help the most vulnerable business sectors.

The manufacturing sector saw the adoption of several measures: the abolishment of sales tax on equipment, capital goods and machinery (effective January 2009), the fixing of energy and natural gas prices until year's end, and enhancing the services that the ITC provides.

In the tourism sector, these measures were put into place: providing loans to other sectors, the rescheduling of outstanding debt, stepping up marketing efforts with international travel agents, charter flight programs, and the introduction of low-cost airlines to the market.

The auto manufacturing sector is dominated by El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company, the state-owned company. It was established in 1960 and makes vehicles under license from Daimler AG, Chrysler, Kia, and Peugeot. Other makers, such as AAV, WAMCO, and MCV Egypt are also a factor.

In the electronics sector, the Olympic Group is the largest group of companies. It focuses mainly on appliances, such as refrigerators, water heaters, gas cookers and washing machines, but it also deals in real estate and information technology. The Bahgat Group leads in the fields of home electronics, internet service provision, and it also owns multiple TV stations.

One of the country's largest business sectors is textiles, employing the majority of Egypt's workers. The textile industry contributes one-fourth of Egypt's non-oil exports, with cotton making up the bulk. The public sector does 90% of Egypt's cotton spinning, 60% of fabric manufacture and 30% of clothing manufacture. The apparel industry is one of the most prosperous sectors in Egypt.

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