After Mohamed Morsi was declared the winner of Egypt's presidential elections, public attention turned again to the country's economic situation, which economists and analysts said they view as one of the most important issues facing the new president.
"The Egyptian economy, like other economies of the world, cannot be detached from the political and security variables and influences at play within the borders of the Republic of Egypt, nor regional and global geopolitical influences," said Dr. Saad Abdul Ghaffar, a professor of economics at Cairo University.
"The political map of the region has changed, and the Egyptian economy was greatly affected in the process as internal events coincided with external ones," he told Al-Shorfa. "Since conditions in the region have not yet stabilised, the new president and his economic team must give serious consideration to the economic situation in order to draw the country out of its current economic bottleneck."
Abdul Ghaffar said that Egypt's present economic malaise must be addressed alongside the country's "political and social issues", adding that "the socioeconomic situation was a key cause of the revolution".
"Political stability will thus come through the socioeconomic gateway," he said.
In his first foreign trip as head of state, Morsi arrived in Saudi Arabia -- which has billions of dollars of investments in Egypt -- on Wednesday (July 11th), at the invitation of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
The visit's aim is to strengthen relations between the two neighbours, according to the official Middle East News Agency (MENA).
Abdul Ghaffar said Egypt must witness "political openness with the Gulf States" during the upcoming months in order to stimulate the country's lagging economy.
He told Al-Shorfa he expects Egyptian officials to embark soon on a regional tour in order to restore trust and clear the way for new investments to start pumping into Egyptian markets.
Egyptian businessmen, meanwhile, said they are anticipating new legislation and revised regulatory structures that may encourage greater economic development and Saudi investment.
"The Egyptian-Arab business community awaits new economic legislation and amendments to existing laws to suit the new state of affairs," said Rauf Muhammad Ali, a businessman and member of the Egyptian Industrialists Society.
The business community also expects "many restrictions to be lifted," he told Al-Shorfa, "especially those related to safe market exit and financial distress cases, as well as the removal of obstacles that previously hindered foreign investors, and the resolution of [legal] cases involving Saudi investors so the confidence of Saudi capital is restored and encouraged to re-enter Egypt."
A number of Saudi investors in Egypt, whose estimated $27 billion worth of investments are primarily concentrated in the tourism, industry and real estate sectors, expressed hope that President Morsi will address stalled Saudi investment projects, Saudi Arabia's Okaz reported in June.
As the country's security situation gradually improves, Egyptian merchants and industrialists have begun working on improving the internal investment climate, Ali said.
He called for accelerating national reconciliation and curbing protests, or at least delaying them for a few months, in order "to improve Egypt's image, because the persistence [of protests] creates an unfavourable impression of the investment [climate] in Egypt."
"The trend in the next period will tend towards tapping [the economic potential of] all provinces and utilising their geographical locations and natural wealth, which will have the double benefit of creating employment opportunities in the provinces and providing a source of liquidity for the state treasury," he said.
According to Mustafa Aziz, an economic advisor and researcher at the studies centre of the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade, President Morsi knew prior to his election that the road ahead for Egypt's economy would be trying.
"[Morsi] expects the results of remedial efforts to start emerging in the coming months," Aziz said.
He added that economic recovery will not come "through wage and salary increases, but [rather] through economic and investment packages that were developed in advance and will be unveiled in succession".
He said a group of businessmen will be relied on to mobilise the private sector.
"The focus will primarily be on Egyptian businessmen, followed by Arab and foreign businessmen. Partial solutions exacerbate the economic situation, so the result will be impressive if the investment plan is implemented with precision and through a process that is free from political pressure," he told Al-Shorfa.
Aziz said that "loans and agreements at this stage will be of the [rescue loan] variety, and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a $2.3 billion loan are moving in the right direction".
In addition, Saudi Arabia has already partially fulfilled previously-pledged financial commitments, with the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank giving $1 billion to finance energy and food imports, Aziz said.
"These amounts are an initial drizzle [of money] and will be used to bridge the projected $38 billion budget deficit, raise the value of the Egyptian pound and bolster foreign currency reserves, which had fallen to $15.5 billion, down from $36 billion in 2011," he said.