EGYPT – Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has achieved growth of 5.6 percent during the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala al-Saeed has revealed.

The minister revealed his country’s impressive economic performance during a ministerial meeting that was convened by the Prime Minister to discuss economic and social issues affecting the country.

Saeed in his statement noted that the ongoing growth in the country’s oil refining, telecommunications, construction and building, and tourism sectors contributed largely to the growth in GDP.

He further noted that the wholesale and retail trade sector ranked first with a contribution of 14.7 percent to the GDP.

The industrial sector came in second with a contribution of 12.6 percent, while the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors contributed 12 percent to the country’s overall growth.

The minister further revealed that agriculture, industry, wholesale and retail trade, construction, transportation and storage accounted for 70 percent of employment.

Saeed said that workers in the wholesale and trade sectors increased by 358,000 while those in the industry sector increased by 426,000.

He also noted that annual inflation rates declined to 6.8 percent in January 2020, while monthly rates declined to 0.8 percent while those in the food and beverage sector reduced inflation rates by 2.1 percent in January 2020, compared to December 2019.

Saeed also noted that the value of foreign exchange sources amounted to US$ 21.9 billion during the first quarter of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, with export earnings representing the largest share of foreign currency at 32 percent, followed by remittances at 31 percent.

The value of imports, meanwhile, decreased by 4.2 percent, from $US 16.6 billion during the first quarter of 2018/2019 fiscal year to US$15.9 billion during the first quarter of 2019/2020 fiscal year.

The trade balance however, improved after the deficit decreased from $US 9.8 billion during the first quarter of 2018/2019 fiscal year to $US8.8 billion during the first quarter of 2019/2020.

In an attempt to revive its faltering economy since 2011, Egypt obtained an IMF loan in 2016 in exchange for implementing a rigorous reform program, beginning with floating the Egyptian pound.

 The tough economic reform program also included measures to loosen capital controls, end energy subsidies, reform public enterprises and overhaul monetary policy, and initially caused inflation to spike to 33 percent.

In November 2019, however, the measures started bearing fruits with inflation in the country reaching its lowest level in years.

The IMF has since branded the 2016 program a success and has recommended that Egypt implement a new package of reforms geared towards supporting and developing the country’s private sector.