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Investing In Egypt


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Introduction

If a country’s strength resides less in the physical resources at its disposal than in the speed at which it adapts to change, Egypt in 2002 has grown far stronger since it adopted a package of reform measures only a few decades ago.

In the early 1980s, Egypt began to upgrade the national infrastructure: electricity, roads, ports, telecommunications and basic services. Today, a modern and efficient infrastructure network, which is a fundamental pre-requisite for increased foreign and domestic investments, covers most of the country.

In the 1990s, the government adopted a major and comprehensive financial and economic reform program, ushering in an era of efficient economic management and financial discipline. This program set the foundations for a dynamic, high-growth economy. Over the course of a decade, reforms have put in place a market-based, liberal, privately led economy that is truly capable of facing global competition in the twenty-first century. By revamping market conditions, renewing and consolidating the infrastructure, dismantling bureaucratic barriers and streamlining procedures, Egypt is ensuring that its economy becomes one of the most open, resilient and internationally integrated markets in the region, and indeed worldwide.

Characterized by diversity, the Egyptian economy enjoys a rich natural resource base, highly integrated manufacturing capacities, a flourishing agricultural sector, ample attractions for tourism, and a skillful labor force; these factors, combined, provide the country with a remarkable potential for sustainable growth.

Beyond such promising developments as revitalized agriculture and progress in the manufacturing sector, improved roads, telecommunications and power providers all offer an excellent environment for investments. The banking, insurance and capital markets have been reformed to provide the necessary financial services as well as considerable profit opportunities.

Egypt’s economy is the second largest in the Arab world, and the largest in North Africa.

With a population of nearly 70 million, Egypt is the largest Arab nation and one of the most populous countries in the African continent.

 

With its dependable climate an A major trade and trans-shipment destination, it occupies the northeastern corner of Africa, sharing borders with Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and Palestine, Israel and Jordan to the northeast. The Mediterranean laps at its northern coast, while the Red Sea lies to the east. Situated at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, at the heart of international trade routes, it can competitively supply a market of one billion people.

Tourism, which declined after the Luxor incident of 1997, is on the increase once again as travelers flock to see the world’s most spectacular antiquities and enjoy its most breathtaking beaches. Egypt’s riches encompass cultural artifacts from the Pharaonic, Coptic, Byzantine, Roman and Islamic eras. That our visitors feel safe is perhaps themost eloquent testimony to the success of security efforts and the anti-terrorism campaign.

d the abundant water resources offered by the Nile, Egypt has always been one of the world’s richest agricultural areas.

Local and multinational firms can capitalize on the growing pool of young Egyptians skilled in IT. Several international software designers have opened offices here to Arabize their applications, and thus to tap the expanding Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern IT market. Egyptian engineers are employed in the development of prototypes for food, pharmaceuticals and electronics. Egypt’s workforce, almost 18 million strong, is also an excellent source of productive, inexpensive, skilled and semi-skilled labor.

Egypt’s recent global integration experience offers ample opportunities for economies of scale in both industry and trade. By setting up an office or investing in Egypt, a business can profit from the growing domestic market, cater to the high purchasing power and vast demand that characterize neighboring Arab and African countries, and expand on existing trade links with the European Union and the United States.

The current issue of Investing in Egypt is made up of three main sections. The Country Profile orients potential investors with regard to major macroeconomic indicators as well as social, political and legal highlights. A Land of Opportunity sheds light on the rapidly developing business environment and the growth that has resulted from that development in several sectors. The third section highlights the legal and regulatory reforms being implemented at present.

Those considering investment in Egypt will find a substantial pool of resources, natural and human, at their disposal. Investors seeking to exploit untapped opportunities can offer Egypt technology, know-how and other skills essential to the sustainable growth of a vibrant economy eagerly moving into the twenty-first century.


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