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Chairman of CIC to visit Egypt
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-06-17 10:42

The chairman of China's sovereign wealth fund, which manages $300 billion in assets, will visit Egypt to discuss infrastructure and other possible investments in the Arab world's most populous nation, a minister said on Tuesday.

Egypt, whose economy has kept growing at around 5 percent throughout the global financial crisis, wants to push foreign direct investment (FDI) back to around $10 billion a year, the level it hit before the world downturn.

The government drive has included efforts to lure investors from China and other Asian states, which have only contributed modestly so far to inflows into Egypt. China Investment Corp (CIC) is Beijing's sovereign wealth management fund, set up in 2007 to seek higher returns on some of its pile of foreign exchange reserves.

"The chairman of CIC will come to Egypt to discuss possibilities in Egypt," Mohieldin told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Cairo, without giving a date for Chairman Lou Jiwei's visit.

"We will be introducing him to the private sector of Egypt and some major projects and infrastructure activities all over the country," he said. "They are doing work all over the world, they are very professional in managing the funds, and they have a long term interest in the region at large and beyond."

China has invested substantially in some other African states as it seeks partnerships that give it access to the raw materials it lacks.

It contributed just $60 million of the $8.1 billion in FDI that Egypt attracted in fiscal 2008/09, according to figures provided by Beltone Financial.

"It's a positive development to finally attract serious attention from Asian investors, especially the Chinese," Beltone analyst Reham ElDesoki said in comments sent by e-mail.

"But unfortunately FDI from China and India is so low that it would require a significant increase in investment flows to have any effect on total FDI levels," she added.

Egyptian Economic Development Minister Osman Mohamed Osman said in May that Egypt could attract $7.5 billion in FDI in the fiscal year 2009/10, which ends on June 30, and that it could reach $10 billion in 2010/11.

Egypt, with 78 million people, hosted a summit of China and African states in November last year. Beijing, which has been stepping up business ties with Africa, offered $10 billion in concessional loans over the next three years to the continent.

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