Egypt's growth drops below 6 percent

Egypt's state minister for economic development says that the country's annual economic growth rate has slowed down to 5.8 percent this year compared to 6.5 percent in 2007. Osman Mohammed Osman said Tuesday that the decline in the growth rate is mainly due to the fact that the construction sector has plunged during first quarter of fiscal year 2008 from 14.4 percent to 9 percent of the economy. Last year's high growth rate was largely attributed to the success of ambitious efforts launched in 2004 to lower taxes, sell off public assets and shore up the financial sector.