Officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, with a population exceeding 90 million, Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East. With a strategic geographic location and proximity to Asia, Africa and Europe, the prospect of doing business in Egypt is potentially rewarding.
Having gone through a period of political instability, the popular uprisings that toppled Hosni Mubarak seemed to promise a peaceful transformation of government. 2015, in particular, was characterised by a degree of political stability and economic growth. However, a largely authoritarian government remains, and the political outlook is at present uncertain. Nonetheless, the Egyptian government’s policies now focus on economic recovery and growth through the following five channels: mega infrastructure projects, tourism, improvements to economic policy, increasing private sector investments, and attracting global investors.
Though Egypt consistently fails to fare well in the Ease of Doing Business index, the strengths of the Egyptian market include a young workforce, a number of free trade agreements and arrangements, and reduced sales taxes and customs duties. Though Egypt remains highly import-dependant, the future will see investments in ports, airports, highways and railways – hopefully leading to more efficient movement of goods.
Some of the risks of doing business in Egypt include a crippling fiscal deficit, restrictions on foreign property ownership, lack of legal and contractual certainty, and incompetent customs procedures. Those unfamiliar with the cultural landscape should also be aware of the quirks in local business etiquette, as developing personal relationships is key between associates, with many preferring to do business with those they already know.
In the face of these many challenges, the World Business Culture website is here to help. For those seeking successful business in Egypt, World Business Culture is an invaluable aid.