This profile of Egypt and doing business in Egypt is an overview. From the drop-down menus at the top of this page, you can access a wide range of additional business information on Egypt provided both by MBendi and by our clients and partners.
.The first drop-down menu provides access to more detailed pages on the Egyptian economy, as well as to profiles of Egypts major industry sectors, particularly oil and gas, chemicals and mining
. The second drop-down menu allows you to access profiles similar to this one for other countries of the world.
The third drop-down menu allows you to search our various databases of Egyptian business information. This includes companies, organisations (including government departments), personalities, projects and facilitiessuch as mines and oil fields.
Finally, the fourth drop-down menu allows you to access a range of Internet applications aimed at assisting you to conduct business more effectively.
The news headlines on this page are updated on a daily basis. You can click on “Other News” at the end of the headlines in order to get Egyptian business news stretching back over several years. Because this overview is only updated once or twice a year, you should use recent news items to build an up to date picture of the Egyptian business environment.
Egypt forms part of the North Africa region. It is situated north of Sudan lying between Libya and the Gaza Strip. It borders the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt controls the Suez Canal as well as the Sinai Peninsula. Cairo is the capital city and other important cities are Al Fayyum and Asyut. Port Said and Alexandria are important ports.
Although Egypt is a democracy, government is highly centralized with the president having extensive executive powers. The next presidential election is scheduled for 2005. President Mubarak has been in power since 1981 and is widely considered to have kept the countrys internal situation quite stable. His greatest opposition comes from Islamic extremists. The government has gone to great lengths to keep groups such as these from employing terrorist tactics.
Details of government offices can be found via our organisation search and of government officers via our personality search. These details are often difficult to source and maintain and we welcome feedback on changes and missing information.
Egypts economy is healthy and it is one of the most prosperous in Africa despite having to service a foreign debt that is more than double the national budget. Pressure has been applied by the IMF and the World Bank for the country to implement reforms in order to rectify the situation. These reforms include the lifting of price controls, the reduction of subsidies as well as the relaxation of restrictions on trade and investment.
The most important recent development is the privatisation plan that is currently under way. The motivation for the programme came as a result of pressure from the World Bank and the IMF. The government has since committed itself to the implementation of further economic reforms. These reforms have resulted in a more liberalised economy as well as good economic practices.
Work permits will be granted to foreigners by the Ministry of Labour on a case-by-case basis. It takes about three months to process an application. The government has strict regulations about the employment and remuneration of Egyptian residents by foreign companies.
Communications and Infrastructure
There is a well-established telephone network covering the whole country. Cellular phone services are available in the major centers. Internet access is available in most centres. More details of Egypts communications infrastructure are available on the Egyptian Telecoms and IT profile provided by BMI-Techknowledge.
The international dialing code for Egypt is +20. The code for Cairo is 2 and for Alexandria 3.
Egypts main industry sectors are tourism, agriculture, manufactuing and oil and gas. The oil and gas industries show enormous potential and are covered extensively on our Egyptian oil and gas profile pages Egypts tourism industry suffered extensively from the slow-down in the international tourist industry following the September 2001 attackson the World Trade Towers. It was also adversely affected by the activities of Islamic militants.
Because the MBendi site is regarded as the most comprehensive global mining website, our are also quite extensive, even though this is not one of Egypts major industry sectors. There are hopes that Egypt could become a top 10 gold producer but we urge caution on this claim.
The Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange provides investment opportunities for local and offshore investors. MBendis provides an overview and details of listed companies.
Decree 119 of February 1991 issued by the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade removed foreign exchange controls and freed exchange rates to move with market forces.
The government has taken various steps to ensure that the investment climate is as favourable as possible. The most important step to date is the Investment Law of 1997, which codifies and clarifies all provisions pertaining to investment in the country. The investment law of 1997 allows foreign companies to have 100% ownership of Egyptian companies and provides for the repatriation of dividends.
Another important feature of this law is the fact that it identifies 16 fields that benefit from investment incentives outlined in the law. In effect, the government has created a positive list that allows investors to identify the favourable areas in which to invest. A few examples of these favourable areas include land reclamation, fishing, poultry and animal production, and mining as well as the tourism industry and related infrastructure. While any investment in these areas will no longer require approval, other areas will still require the approval of the GAFI (General Authority for Investment).
Foreign investments in the petroleum sector are governed by individual concession agreements between foreign companies and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation.
Historically,despite the volatility of the region in which Egypt is situated, trade has still continued successfully Egypts main trading partners are the US, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Britain and Japan.
Major categories of goods imported are wheat, meat, flour, machinery and automobiles. Major categories of goods exported are petroleum, oil, gas, cotton and cotton textiles as well as aluminum products.
Egypt is a member of several trade blocs.
Egypt is served by a range of international airlines, which fly to both Cairo and Alexandria. Internal air services operate and there are bus and rail services along the Nile River valley.
The road system in the country is good with only small amounts remaining unpaved. There is also an extensive rail system that services the country. Airports are relatively well maintained. Egypts waterways are an integral part of the economy and the Nile and many canals flowing into it are navigable to oceangoing vessels.
Foreign visitors to Egypt can get a visitor’s visa stamped in their passport at the port of entry, except for nationals for certain countries who require a visa to be obtained from Egyptian Consulate in the country where they live. The visitors visa is valid for one month and can be extended for periods up to six months. Visitors must register with the police within seven days of arrival, this is usually handled by one’s hotel. However this changes from time to time and we suggest you contact the nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate for up to date information.
Visitors to Egypt should take precautions against malaria, hepatitis A, cholera, typhoid fever and schistosomiasis. Visitors are required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from an infected area. It is also good to be prepared for the possibility of having to pay medical expenses prior to arrival in the country.
The enactment of the Investment Law of 1997 has lessened the risk involved with investment in Egypt by a large margin. There is now very little internal risk associated with investment in this country.
The main risk in doing business in Egypt is the situation external to the country, with specific reference to the conflict in the Middle East and the focus on terrorist activities emanating from Moslem countries. The implications of these events could hold the most risk for an investor and it is therefore important to keep abreast of activities in these areas. MBendis provides a daily update for business.
Egypt has a number of chambers of commerce and industry and details of these can be found via our , as can details of relevant government departments. MBendis allows interested parties to find details of many Egyptian companies.
Arabic is the official language however, French and English are also widely spoken and used in commerce