Egypt today can be a viable market for the foreign investor, especially the investor who has the ability to see the rewards of in investing in the region for the long haul. The world and Egypt both realize that the region is the gateway to the Middle East. Egypt is leading the way for Arabic countries to embrace a new way of doing business and opening their borders to the ‘global village’ concept.
Size of Market
The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in Northern Africa and borders Libya, Sudan and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Less than one-tenth of Egypt is settled. Egypt’s population of 68 million lives mostly in the Nile valley and Delta. The Western Desert Highway and the Delta Road connect Egypt’s two largest cities, Alexandria and Cairo.
Egypt is three times the size of New Mexico and is a desert climate with long dry, hot summers and short moderate winters. This region is also known for severe droughts, flash floods and sandstorms. Prime agricultural land is being lost to urban sprawl along the delta. With the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the development of Lake Nasser soil salination and the changing ecology along the Nile is an ever-present problem. A rapidly growing population will continue to stress the resources.
Egypt is the largest Arab county by population with 68 million people. Arabic is the common language with 94% of the population being Muslim and the other 6% being Coptic Christian. Islam is the state religion and the Egyptian Pound is the official currency.
Socio-Cultural Acceptance Of Product
The socio-cultural acceptance of a product in this region can be achieved if the company has a broad knowledge of the Islamic people. A businessperson must take the time to learn the culture, develop an appreciation for the Islamic faith and Egypt’s long and rich culture.
The Egyptian people view business as a personal transaction, not simply an exchange of money. One must embrace their culture in order to succeed in this marketplace. A businessperson cannot simply walk into a meeting, shake hands and expect to immediately discuss the business at hand. One has to be pleasant and willing to get to know their customer; which many times include their family members.
All private business leaders and most high-level government officials have a good command of English. Therefore a fore...
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... important in their daily life. When doing business in Egypt, be prepared to play it in the Egyptian tradition, or you may waste your time. A few foreign firms come to Egypt and give up after a short stay. But most foreign companies, once established with a base here, find the Egyptian market a worthwhile and profitable place to do business.
To create a business opportunity for an American consumer product in Egypt would be extremely challenging. A better approach would be to invest in an existing, established company to assist in the humanitarian aspects for the region. A company searching to make short-term profits should not invest in the Egyptian economy; Egypt is a developing country that will take years of nurturing to be a truly thriving marketplace.
It's a people problem . . . Business Today (Egypt), 09-09-1998
Lois Beck, Feminists, Islam and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt, 1997
Gehad Auda, Political-Military Relations in Egypt, 1990
P. J. Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt (1991)
Egypt, Encyclopedia Americana Online Grolier, Inc. http://go.grolier.com, 2001
Egypt, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2001 http://encarta.msn.com, 2001
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