Some Egyptian contracting companies perceive the current Libyan market as the lifeline that will save them from the deep economic recession. The January revolution and associated instabilities caused by a security breakdown and labour protests have taken their toll on many activities, which in turn slowed economic growth rates down.
However, Egyptian companies are not so optimistic about their share of the Libyan reconstruction cake, since NATO countries are expected to step in heavily in return for their support of the Libyan rebels in their bid to uproot a despotic ruler.
According to Mohamed Aglan, board member of the General Federation of Egyptian Contractors (GFEC), Egypt is not likely to get a reasonable share, since the NATO countries’ potential is much bigger than that of Egyptian contractors.
However, the GFEC is reported to have already signed a co-operation protocol with its Libyan counterpart, whereby a small percentage of the reconstruction projects in Libya would be allocated to Egyptian companies.
According to GFEC, the protocol will come into effect after the naming of the new Libyan government. Aglan said that Egyptian contracting companies accounted for merely one per cent of the work volume in the Libyan construction sector, which is dominated by Korean, Turkish, Chinese and American companies.
The chairman of the GFEC, Hassan Abdel Aziz, told Al-Shorouq independent daily that contracting activities would be confined to restoration.
In a relevant development, accredited training programmes are to be launched by the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower with a view of supplying the recovering Libyan market with a qualified construction labour force. The proximity of the two countries has often created a large labour movement into Libya, where about two million Egyptians lived and worked before to the revolution.
Official estimates indicate that about 500,000 returned home, and many are already looking for new jobs in Libya, considering that the Egyptian unemployment rate has reached around 11.4 per cent.
As part of the projected Training Fund, the Manpower Ministry has chosen an initial group of 10,000 workers from different governorates, registered in the data base of the returning labour force, to be subject to vocational tests.
According to a Manpower Ministry statement, those who pass the tests would be granted certificates that entitle them to take part in reconstruction projects in Libya. Those who fail would be granted a second chance by attending a three-month training course in construction activities.
Manpower Minister Ahmed el-Boraei said earlier that these training certificates would comply with new standards set by the Libyan side to receive Egyptian workers.
(Source: The Egyptian Gazette)