Utility privatization planned

22 January 1998

The Egyptian government plans to privatize the country's various utilities as part of a programme of economic reforms aimed at attracting new investment into the state-controlled industries.

The private sector is already involved in the power sector through build-own-operate-transfer schemes. Further involvement may come through the selection of strategic investors for various sectors.

The first utility to be privatized is likely to be the telecommunications authority Egypt-Telecom, Reuters reports. Shares may be offered to private sector investors later this year. Privatization of the electricity and energy utilities is expected to follow.

Government officials believe privatization offers the best prospects for modernizing national industries and infrastructure. The privatization plans also satisfy conditions sought by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for structural reforms in Egypt, reforms the country has been implementing since the early 1990s.

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