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Is Egypt An Attractive Overseas Investment Opportunity?

Over the course of the past week, Egypt have been hosting a number of top American business executives, who have travelled to the country in an attempt to help boost the country's currently unhealthy economy. America have long held a number of key interests in Egypt, and now that the country is looking to move on completely from the revolution of last year, now is a great time to give focus to helping out what has been a traditional ally for the US.

Violence

It is no surprise at all to learn that the demonstrations and violence that eventually led to ex-President Mubarak standing down in February of last year had a massively detrimental impact on the country's economy.

The question for investors - many of whom will have had their fingers burned during the largely unexpected events 18 months ago - is whether it is wise to return to Egypt with investments in hand.

Stabilising

It had been hoped that once current President Hisham Qandil took office that the economy would stabilise and begin to grow again. This has not happened at all, in fact, there is no real economic policy yet to be put into place in the country. This issue has been exacerbated by the fact that Egypt are working - or dithering, depending on your viewpoint - towards securing an impetus loan from the International Monetary Fund that the country hopes will get it back on the economic track it wants to be on.

There is no question that there are currently investment opportunities aplenty across Egypt, particularly in areas such as tourism that will be looking to bounce back quickly and strongly after suffering a horrific downturn in the last two years.

Other attractive investments available in Egypt going forward are likely to be energy and property, both residential and commercial.

The Syrian Impact

One continuing factor is the volatile atmosphere in the Middle East, and although Syria is geographically far enough away from Egypt to not be a real issue, issues in Damascus and across the country continue to cast a shadow across the whole of the area.

Ultimately, if the International Monetary Fund are unwilling to back Egypt's fiscal plan, then it makes little sense for investors to be gambling their finances there at the moment.

The Future

President Qandil is due to visit the United States later in September, at which time the future of Egypt's finances may well become clearer and something resembling decisive action look to take place.

There is no question that Egypt will once again be an attractive investment opportunity in the future. Until the future economic path of Egypt is clear, however, it is a country best given a wide berth.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.