In the last five years, Egypt has received $200 billion of foreign investment and is set to receive further billions, this time from Qatar. Not only that, if the Egyptian Government plays its economic cards right and implements austerity measures successfully, the country is in line for a $5 billion loan from the IMF.
Much to the relief of consumers and business bankers, Egypt has monitored its banks throughout the turmoil in the international economy. Both local and foreign banks in the country operate under the Central Bank of Egypt’s watchful eye. Entrepreneurs can do their business banking and feel comforted to know that bank transactions are internationally secured and guaranteed during commercial deals.
If you’re an entrepreneur and are thinking of starting a business in Egypt, here are some facts of interest to you.
The business choice is yours
As part of the Egyptian Government’s drive to encourage foreign investment, there have been major changes in Egyptian law. Attractively, you no longer have to go into partnership with an Egyptian national or Egyptian business. The business can be yours… all yours! This goes for representation on the board of directors too, who can all be foreign.
Additional legal protection exists where your property is concerned. The Egyptian Government can no longer expropriate private property. It has a real fight on its hands if it wishes to.
The first place you should look to establish your start-up in Egypt is in a free zone. The Egyptian Government created these zones to encourage foreign investment, so they hold juicy incentives to entrepreneurs who want to undertake a new business venture in Egypt. These include:
- Exemption from all taxes and customs duties while the business operates in the free zone
- Exemption from import and export regulations
- The option to sell a certain percentage of your production domestically
- Selected exemptions from labor provisions
- Freedom to choose your business’s legal status.
In the zone
Egypt’s free zones lie close to sea ports and airports so that businesses can import and export their products easier. Here are some of the main public ones:
- Alexandria — 20 kilometers from Nozha International Airport and located on the Alexandria to Cairo road, this free zone’s main areas of investment are ready made garments, household garments, chemical and petrochemical industries, engineering and electronics, medical equipment manufacture, navigation services, and maritime shipment.
- Nasr City —the first free zone and based in Cairo, pharmaceutical industries, medical equipment, engineering and electronics, and the automotive industry are the main openings for investment here.
- Port Said — in this free zone which overlooks the north of the Suez Canal, the main areas of investment are leather and leather industries, readymade garments, household and refrigerating equipment, and chemical industries services, including petroleum, logistics and maritime services.
If you start up a business in Egypt not only can you be your own boss in the venture but, thanks to the changes in Egyptian law, you can also choose freely who you want to be a partner in the business. Establish your start-up in one of Egypt’s free zones and you can enjoy tax-free profits. These free zones to attract foreign investment, plus other moves towards a free-market economy, have made Egypt truly open for business.