Invest in New Egypt, PM Tells US Businessmen

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil on Sunday urged a major US business delegation to invest in post-Mubarak Egypt, as he sought to showcase an attractive investment environment.

US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is accompanying the delegation of more than 100 American executives aiming to promote private sector development in Egypt.

"Egypt opens its doors to investors," Qandil told attendants, quoted by the official MENA news agency.

"Egypt is a land of opportunity, with a young population, good infrastructure... enabling an environment to invest," he said.

Qandil, who was named premier in July, stressed that the turbulence following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak is over.

He said that Egypt had held successful elections and that security had returned to the Arab world's most populous nation.

In June, Egypt elected its first post-Mubarak president, Mohamed Morsi, a former senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But, Qandil said, having a democratic election must be accompanied by economic growth.

"We all insist on making Egypt an advanced and democratic country," he said, adding the government was working to "attract capital by providing a modern legislative environment."

"Reducing the budget deficit is a top priority," he said.

Egypt, which has seen its economy worsen since Mubarak's ouster, asked last month for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which in turn is seeking reforms.

Qandil said he hoped to reach an agreement with the IMF because that would be "a good sign to the world that Egypt is moving in the right direction."

During the visit, members of the American delegation will also meet with other cabinet members, heads of political parties and business leaders, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

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