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Thinking about starting Business in Egypt?

Egypt, the 7,000-year old civilized country, has always been considered a paved route for both Egyptian and foreign investors to come and invest their money, start-up new businesses and be from the wealthiest in the world. That rich country with its natural resources, qualified labor, and wonderful environment, not only the weather but also its business environment.

Investors have been always competing to start-up businesses or to have partnerships with Egyptian corporations. However, since 25th January 2011, things have turned upside down. After the revolution, many Egyptian business people have lost their money, and many foreign investors decided to leave Egypt. That affected the Egyptian economy, greatly. But because Egypt has always been strong, and has always been able to ‘get better’ quickly, the Egyptian government and economists have worked hard tried, and are still trying to do their best to capture the eyes –and the hearts- of those who were afraid of losing everything they own in Egypt after what it has been through. Without being boring, statistics are the best to show that tremendous change. Here is a quick overview of the World Bank on Doing Business in Egypt:

The World Bank has ranked Egypt in 2010 doing business report (which is the report that determines the ease of starting-up a business in Egypt) in the DTF (distance to the frontier which benchmarks economies with respect to regulatory best performance) 56.77%. After some political and economic reforms and after the stability has set-in in the country, the DTF percentage reached 59.99 in 2014 Doing Business Report, then it has been dropped down to 55.87% in 2015, then 55.18% in 2016, then it started to rise to 56.64% in 2017. Also, Egypt has taken the 39th position in the Doing Business rank (39 out of 190) in 2017, after being in the 70th position in 2016. Thus, statistics show that new regulations have been improved to fasten and facilitate the business process in Egypt.
It means that Egypt is still a fertile land for whoever wants to start a business, have a well-recognized trade mark and a good wealthy life. Egypt should be your first, yet your only choice if you are thinking to start a business. It is not only a station but will soon be your business’ headquarters.

Now, if you are thinking to start-up a business in Egypt, here are some things you should know about the business environment here, and how you could deal with things.

According to Egypt 2017 doing business report, starting a business there requires 4.0 procedures, takes 6.0 days, costs 7.4% of income per capita for men, and requires 5.0 procedures, takes 7.0 days, costs 7.4% of income per capita for women.

The business owners should be married, have no criminal record, and should have reached the legality age (if a country does not have a specific legality age, then the owner should not be below 30) (i.e. In Egypt, the legality age is 21).

Let us start with the procedures needed to legally start and operate a business in Egypt (5 procedures):

• The gender component has been recently added, where the wife should take her husband’s permission to go out and work; according to the personal status law of 1985.

• Once the entrepreneur is ready, there should be a company name. He/she should obtain a certificate of non-confusion, with the official government stamp, after making sure that the name is legally admissible. In Egypt, that procedure takes place at the General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI).

• Then, a bank account should be opened at any authorized bank, as the Alexandria Bank.

• The founder/entrepreneur then will submit a file to the GAFI including the certificate of non-confusion, the bank account certificate, the founder’s ID or passport, a copy of the powers of attorney from the founders to their representatives, stamped articles of association, application the application provided by GAFI and an original certificate which indicates that the company’s auditor is listed at the registry of accountants and auditors. A lawyer and an employee will review these documents.

• Finally, after submitting and reviewing the documents needed, the GAFI would give the founder the certificate of incorporation.

Those are the steps you would follow to finish the paperwork for your business. Then you would choose the business place and start working.

See? It is a very well organized process; to guarantee your rights. Those procedures will help you if you are Egyptian. But, if you are a foreign investor, then the New Investment Law will best fit you.

Also, the Egyptian government has reduced the taxes paid throughout the process of starting your business; which is a good point.

Dear Investor, if I were you, I would have chosen to invest in Egypt; to benefit from the regulations that really facilitate the process and encourage anyone to take a risk and come. Always remember that high risks lead to high profits.

By Mariam Sabry

Editor Assistant

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