'Youth of Tahrir Square Won': Egyptian CEO
With Egyptian banks and jobs sites expected to open again on Sunday, Nassef Sawiris, CEO of Orascom Construction, told CNBC Friday, that the result of the protests is a "victory" for Egyptians and, especially, for the country's youth.
“In my view, the people of Tahrir Square have won,” said Sawiris, referring to the tens of thousands of protesters who have been meeting since Jan. 25 in one of Cairo's main public places to call for the ouster of President Mubarak, who has been in power for three decades.
“The last 11 days represented a loss to the entire economy,” said Sawiris, Egypt’s richest citizen, whose net worth is $5.9 billion, according to the latest Forbes list. “Most of our job sites were closed. [But] We’re optimistic that come Sunday, we’ll start opening up open again.”
Orascom employs some 44,000 Egyptians throughout the world, including 24,000 within Egypt. It is the biggest company in Egypt and the largest contractor in the Middle East. The Egyptian government employs six million people, said Sawiris.
Although Sawiris characterized the Egyptian rioting and deaths that ensued as “extremely sad for us as Egyptians," which "left a big dent in the Egyptian economy," he said the brief period will result in a “much stronger country.”
Sawiris said that over the weekend he’ll meet with his company's board to decide about buying back company stock, which would help stabilize the Egyptian economy.
“If we decide on a buyback, it’s because we believe in the future of Egypt,” he said. “We believe in the future of our company.”