CAIRO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's economic growth rate reached 5 percent in the last quarter of the outgoing fiscal year 2016/17 compared to 4.5 percent during the same period in the previous year, the Egyptian planning minister told reporters on Wednesday.
"The Egyptian economy recorded a noticeable growth despite the economic reform measures, due to growth of the sectors of communications, construction and retail trade," Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said in a press conference following a cabinet meeting in the capital Cairo.
"This is a positive development," she said, noting that the growing sectors provide many job opportunities in the most populous Arab country.
Egypt's fiscal year starts in early July and ends in late June.
The minister stated that the total direct investments mounted to 7.9 billion U.S. dollars in the outgoing fiscal year compared to 6.9 billion in the previous one.
"There is improvement in the balance of trade as well," she added, which means that the country started to increase exports and decrease imports.
The country has been suffering economic recession due to political instability and relevant security challenges following two uprisings that toppled two heads of state since 2011. The turmoil led to a decline in the country's foreign currency reserves, foreign investments, tourism revenues and others.
Egypt's current leadership led by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who once was the army chief, is working hard on attracting foreign investments despite its ongoing anti-terror war that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers as well as militants over the past few years.
Besides floating its local currency's exchange rate to face dollar shortage, Egypt started last year a strict three-year economic reform program including austerity measures, fuel subsidy cuts and tax increase.
The program is encouraged by a 12-billion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund, a third of which has already been delivered to Egypt in two tranches in November 2016 and July 2017.