Introduction

The business climate in Egypt

The Egyptian economy has come a long way since socialism of the mid-20th century. Since the early 1980s, it has become increasingly easier for foreigners to invest in Egypt. As Egypt’s small to medium enterprise (SME) sector slowly develops, there will be even more opportunities for foreign business ventures.

Still, while Egypt is open to foreign investment, it is not necessarily the most investor-friendly country. Forming and maintaining a business involves an incalculable amount of backtracking and bureaucratic wrangling. These obstacles are not necessarily limited to foreigners alone – the Egyptian government is in the process of streamlining the paperwork to encourage business ventures from its own citizens.

Do not even consider trying to navigate the bureaucracy without a local lawyer (and some background reading on Egyptian law). Once you begin the process, do your best to make connections along the way. You will be surprised at how often a government friend with a rubber stamp can expedite things. You should also make sure to know government office hours and have required paperwork ready ahead of time. You will be frustrated enough waiting for government administrators to handle your business, make sure you’re on top of the things you can control!

As with so many other aspects of life in Egypt, patience is key. You undoubtedly find that a cheerful disposition (no matter how forced) will get you further than exasperation.


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