Egyptian tycoon Samih Sawiris' daughter quits position after his government criticism

Egyptian tycoon Samih Sawiris' daughter quits position after his government criticism
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
17 May, 2023
Samih Sawiris criticised the Egyptian government's economic policies for failing to liberalise the exchange rate of the US dollar and causing a "suffocating" impact on the private sector in the process.
Egyptian business tycoon Samih Sawiris sparked a controversy recently by voicing his intention to quit investing in Egypt. [Getty]

The daughter of Egyptian business tycoon Samih Sawiris recently resigned from her position on the board of her father's mega-company, almost two weeks after he made controversial statements to the media about his intention to stop investing in new projects in Egypt and redirect his attention to Saudi Arabia.

Taya Sawiris was a member of the board of Orascom Development Holding, a leading construction company operating in the Egyptian and regional markets for almost 30 years now, according to local news reports.

Sawiri sparked debate after an interview Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel about the Egyptian economy. In an interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya Business channel on 2 May, Sawiris, the 66-year-old billionaire, one of Egypt's richest, spoke of his concern over the uncertainties of the exchange rate of the US dollar in Egypt.

The shortage of foreign currency had caused difficulty in the entry of materials required for production, he said.

The business mogul further criticised the government's economic policies for failing to liberalise the exchange rate of the US dollar and causing a "suffocating" impact on the private sector in the process.


Sawiris voiced his readiness to invest in Saudi Arabia, describing it as "the number one promising area in the Arab world." He said he was considering several projects in the Gulf state but declined to mention further details.

In October last year, the central bank of Egypt imposed an exchange rate flexibility, allowing the value of the Egyptian pound to be regulated by market forces in a bid to save an already ailing economy after securing a US$3 billion loan from International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

The Egyptian pound has already been struggling against the US dollar, leading prices to hike since Egypt depends on importation rather than local production.

Egypt's economy has been undergoing a shortage of US dollars in recent months.

Experts recently predicted that the Egyptian government will likely devaluate the pound against the US dollar for the fourth time next month amid the current economic crisis.

A US dollar is valued at 30.95 EGP at the time of publishing, while it is sold for 40.50 EGP in the informal, parallel market.