Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal Participates in Panel on African Investments at the Russia-Africa Economic Forum in Sochi
Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder, Ahmed Heikal participated in the Russia-Africa Economic Forum co-chaired by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two-day event taking place in the Black Sea resort town, Sochi featured panel discussions on issues ranging from Russian-African cooperation in energy, trade and infrastructure investment to collaboration in science, technology and digital security.
“Although we are on the verge of entering a global recession with rising tensions over trade, the African continent continues to record levels of growth that are relatively high,” said Heikal in an interview with RT on the sidelines of the event. “As for Egypt, I am fully supportive of the government’s economic reform agenda particularly gradual removal of energy subsidies.”
Qalaa has long been a staunch believer in the fundamentals of both Egypt in particular and Africa as whole. The underlying growth drivers are strong, with some of the world’s largest consumer markets as well as an increasingly large working-age population. As one of the largest private sector investors in the country and the earliest in the continent, Qalaa has vast experience in capitalizing on these fundamentals to build successful businesses, including investments in strategic sectors such as energy, cement, transporation and logistics, mining, agrifoods, as well as printing and packaging.
“Closing the infrastructure gap in Africa is something Qalaa has been working to achieve for years, but it cannot be achieved without key partnerships between the public and private sectors. Our flagship Egyptian Refinery Company (ERC) is the largest PPP infrastructure in Africa and is a prime example of this, blending global funding, private enterprise, and public support to develop what is now a cornerstone of Egypt’s economic security,” said Heikal.
With stability being key to developing investment and attracting capital, PPP structures are attractive from a fiscal point of view, with numerous countries already passing legislature to encourage development. “One of the key sources that allowed us to build an oil refinery was project financing that attracted USD 4.4 billion for us. Today, we produce petrol that complies with the European regulations. How did we get this kind of money? Through a regime that attracts international financial institutions and welcomes them into the country,” said Heikal.
Heikal’s session on investing in Africa included discussion on the business climate in Egypt, particularly for foreign entrants into the market. “Eight years back, 50% of my wealth was housed out of Egypt; today that figure stands at less than 1%. That is the kind of confidence we have in the reforms and the regime, which a this point in time is extremely encouraging and welcoming for a private sector that is serious — investors looking to build real businesses.”
Heikal was the only representative of the Egyptian private sector at the Summit. Government participants included Minister of Planning Monitoring and Administrative Reform Hala El Said, CIT Minister Amr Talaat, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid and Head of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Yehia Zaki.
Citadel Capital (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Stock Exchange) is an African leader in energy and infrastructure. Formerly known as Citadel Capital, Qalaa Holdings controls subsidiaries in industries including Energy, Cement, Agrifoods, Transportation & Logistics, Mining and Printing & Packaging. To learn more, please visit qalaaholdings.com.. For more information, please visit citadelcapital.com.
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