When you’re thinking of starting up a business, Egypt might not seem an obvious first choice. However, ruling it out is a big mistake. Egypt has, in fact, weathered the international economic turbulence better than many other countries, due to its economic reforms and the Central Bank of Egypt’s supervision of all the local and foreign banks in the country.
This is good news for corporate banking in Egypt. When you’re making business payments you’ll be pleased to know that bank transactions (letters of credit and transfers) are secured and guaranteed internationally during commercial deals. Businesses can set up corporate accounts safe in the knowledge that the financial authorities are taking genuine care of their interests.
But it’s not just this protection of corporate banking that makes Egypt a good place to start a business.
Freedom of Enterprise, Freedom of Choice
Egypt is particularly attractive for start-ups because you have so much freedom over your business. The changes in the legal framework now allow 100% foreign ownership of a company, as well as 100% foreign representation on the
board of directors. There’s also protection from expropriation, which means the Government won’t be able to take private property into public ownership without a fight, if at all.
The other tasty carrot that Egypt dangles in front of entrepreneurs, and has been doing so for years now, is its creation of free zones, which were set up to encourage foreign trade. Start your business in these zones and you’ll be exempt from taxes, customs duties and import and export regulations. The other advantage these zones offer is that that you’re free to choose the legal status of your business.
When you set up a business, you should research into where the opportunities lie — and Egypt certainly has plenty of them. For instance, general lack of consumer knowledge about products such as insurance has created lots of opportunities in the financial sector.
Other sectors where there’s room for business are construction, ICT, education and training, gas and oil, environment and water, and retail sectors. Here’s why:
- Education — the shift in the Egyptian education system focus means that pupils are learning to prepare for employment rather than to simply pass exams
- Oil and gas — Egypt’s high level of unemployment and its large number of people under 25 year olds has created lots of opportunities for training in the sector
- ICT — the demand for ICTs in Egypt is growing and the sector itself is growing quickly each year
Environment and water — the Egyptian Government wants to provide water and sanitation for 217 Egyptian cities and 4 600 villages, and will require engineers and project managers for such projects
- Retail — Egyptian consumers are becoming more interested in brands and value-added products and services, but despite some household names branching out into Egypt, penetration of the retail sector is still low
- Construction — the Egyptian construction sector is experiencing an annual growth rate of 15%. Investment is estimated to reach $7.3 billion, with many new and diverse projects, including high-end real estate, tourism and leisure, and infrastructure projects.
So if you’re looking to set up your business in Egypt, you’ll find the country is doing everything possible to make it easier for you, including exemption from taxes and customs duties. Not only that, the Central Bank of Egypt’s monitors all the banks in Egypt, so that it’s safer to use a corporate account and make business payments there. It all makes business pleasure.