DOING BUSINESS IN EGYPT
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.
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Egypt. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Egypt and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:
- Background to business
- Business Structures
- Management style
- Women in business
- Top tips