The new wealth fund will manage state-owned businesses ahead of possible stock-market listings.

Egypt’s government has approved plans to launch a new EGP 200bn ($11bn) sovereign wealth fund, planning minister Hala Al-Saeed announced this week.

The proposals were initially put forward in March, and the fund is intended to help manage a number of state-owned companies in advance of floating stakes in the firms on the Egyptian stock exchange and elsewhere.

Speaking at a press conference, Al-Saeed said: “The establishment of this Egyptian sovereign fund leads to increasing the value added in the various economic sectors through partnership with international companies and institutions, in addition to the direct economic gains of the Egyptian economy, such as increasing investment, employment and optimal utilisation of state assets and resources.”

She added: “Although the expected return on investment in Egypt is high for the global average and even for emerging markets, the volume of current investments is not at all commensurate with this sector-wide and regional return in Egypt.”

The economic situation has improved markedly in the country over recent months, helped by exploitation of the Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean as well as new business-friendly legislation and a currency devaluation in late 2016.