Nestle has said it plans to continue ramping up investments in Egypt, despite the country’s “challenging” economic conditions, which the Switzerland-based group said represent opportunities to expand the “largely resilient” fast-moving consumer goods industry.

Yasser Abdul Malak, CEO and chairman of Nestle’s Egyptian business, confirmed this week the group plans new investments worth EGP1bn (US$52.6m) up to 2021 to boost its presence in the Egyptian market by establishing new factories and adding new products.

A Nestle spokesperson told just-food the cash injection will be on top of “close to EGP1bn” invested by the company over the past five years in its manufacturing and distribution facilities and skills development in Egypt.

The spokesperson added: “Our intention is to continue investing behind increasing our production capacity in order to cope with growing consumer demand in Egypt and to increase our exports, thus generating foreign currency.

“Our investments and expansion plans in Egypt reflect the importance of this market to us. There is potential for growth in the food industry in Egypt and despite very challenging economic conditions since the 2011 Arab Spring, the fast-moving consumer goods industry has remained largely resilient.”

According to Nestle, food consumption in Egypt “has been increasing by more than 10% per year, and beverages have shown strong demand”.

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The spokesperson said: “In a country that has a population of more than 90 million people, 50% of which are below the age of 25 with rapidly-evolving lifestyles and aspirations, it’s only natural that the demand for dynamic segments like instant coffee would increase. Despite the recent devaluation of the Egyptian pound, which has put individual and family finances under tremendous pressures, demand still continues to grow. Moreover, manufacturing companies like Nestle, with our long experience in similar markets, have found ways to work around inflation and come up with strategies that work for our consumers.”

“Nestle has been delighting consumers in Egypt since 1870 and we have strong roots in the country where we have long been an integral part of the local community. We confirm that we are still committed to grow our operations and to continue investments in Egypt as a strategic market in the region. The currency crash and the high inflation rate are challenges but it is also an opportunity for growth and expansion.”

Nestle in Egypt has 3,000 employees and two factories dedicated to the manufacturing of dry goods and waters.

Last week, the group signed an agreement to acquire the Caravan Marketing Company, a leading Egyptian instant coffee company and owner of the Bonjorno brand.

In June 2016, Nestle became the first FMCG company to sell food and drink products in Egypt via the Arab world’s largest online retailer,

Towards the end of last year, Egypt slapped increased tariffs on a range of imports including selected food products in a bid to boost domestic production and reduce a growing trade deficit. The government said the move was “to create the necessary climate to attract investment”.