An Egyptian makes sweets at a local chocolate factory in Cairo. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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Egyptian chocolate spread maker Swifax has doubled its sales and is struggling to keep up with demand since the pound dived in November, forcing shoppers traditionally "obsessed with everything foreign" to ditch pricy imports and buy local.The pound's flotation and an ensuing increase in tariffs on more than 300 products shipped from abroad have hit importers hard, but have been a boon for domestic manufacturers such as Swifax.Once shunned in favor of prestigious foreign brands perceived to offer higher quality, Egyptian-made products are much more affordable for customers who are increasingly price-conscious as inflation has shot above 28 percent.A 350-gram jar of Swifax's high-end spread, Moltobella, costs 36 pounds while its budget brand costs around 17 pounds.Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil told Reuters in October that Egypt had produced $4 billion worth of import substitutes since the start of 2016 and aimed to expand domestic industry by 8 percent in three years.With Egypt aiming to raise economic growth under the IMF program to 5.5 percent by the 2018-19 fiscal year from 4.3 percent in 2015-16, the government can ill-afford large numbers of firms to delay investment like Swifax.
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