Egypt’s government has announced new measures to attract foreign investment by easing the requirements for foreigners to obtain Egyptian nationality. The decision of Egypt to offer citizenship comes at the country seeks to gain foreign investments.
According to local media reports, foreigners can now be granted an Egyptian passport if they buy real estate property worth at least $300,000, a reduction from the previous threshold of $500,000. Additionally, the deposit amount required in an Egyptian bank account has been reduced to $500,000 from the previous $750,000.
How did the decision of Egypt to offer citizenship arise?
The move of Egypt to offer citizenship is part of a series of measures by Prime Minister Mostafa al-Madbouly aimed at bolstering the state’s coffers amid economic difficulties. The country is grappling with inflation and a lack of foreign currency while being squeezed by its creditors.
Egypt is facing one of the worst economic crises in its history, with the Egyptian pound losing half its value against the dollar in just one year. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have also been depleted, while inflation officially reached 26.5% in January.
As one of the world’s largest grain importers, Egypt has also been impacted by soaring wheat prices due to the war in Ukraine, putting further pressure on its foreign exchange reserves. Dollar reserves have shrunk by 20% to $34.2 billion, with $28 billion coming from the Gulf.
In response, the government has implemented an economic reform program since 2016, including phasing out subsidies on petroleum products. In early March, fuel prices rose at rates as high as 20%.
The new measures to ease nationality requirements are seen as an effort to boost foreign investment and strengthen the country’s economy. In addition to buying real estate and depositing funds in an Egyptian bank account, foreigners can also obtain citizenship by participating or establishing an investment project for a minimum of $350,000 while depositing an amount of $100,000 as direct revenue in foreign currency to the state’s public treasury.
Foreigners who deposit a sum of $250,000 as direct revenue in foreign currency, which is later transferred to the public treasury and not refundable, also have the right to hold Egyptian citizenship.