Egypt’s consumer market has vast growth potential, backed by a growing middle class, youthful demographic, and high household consumption.
According to a 2017 survey, Egyptians are generally optimistic about their job prospects and confident about the state of their personal finances.1 The Egyptian consumer today is more discerning and seeks good quality, affordable and unique consumer products and lifestyle services.
An example would be the Egyptian market’s increasing interest in Asian cuisines, such as Japanese and Korean cuisine. In fact, the country’s food industry is booming. It has grown at an average rate of 20% for the last five years, and growth is expected to continue.
As a Singapore company, you can leverage our reputation as a food paradise, and high food safety and quality standards to gain a competitive advantage in Egypt.
Opportunities also abound in the retail industry. Singapore companies with retail presence in Egypt include footwear retailer Charles & Keith, who has been there since 2005.2
1 The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, 2017
2 Singapore Infopedia, 2016
The Egyptian government is focusing on infrastructure projects to spur economic growth. It welcomes foreign direct investment and wants to increase the private sector’s contribution towards the country’s development.
For instance, there are plans to develop four industrial areas and three desalination projects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone). This is to support the growing industrial demand for water and power. On a broader note, the SCZone also presents opportunities for Singapore companies in the areas of construction, engineering, logistics, and shipping.
Other infrastructure projects in the pipeline include: Golden Triangle Project, a new industrial city which will serve as a global mining hub; and the New Administrative Capital project, an administrative city 40 km to the east of Cairo.
Singapore’s expertise in project development, technical expertise, as well as financing and advisory services puts your company in an advantageous position. You can leverage Singapore’s infrastructure ecosystem and explore working with other Singapore companies to address Egypt’s infrastructure needs.
Manufacturing contributes to almost a fifth of Egypt’s GDP3. Automobiles, electronics, food, pharmaceutical, and textiles constitute the bulk of production.
In 2016, the Egyptian government announced a four-year, five-pillar strategy to transform the country into a major regional industrial centre and export hub. It also introduced a new law to speed up the process of establishing new industrial projects. This reduces the waiting period for 80% of industries to a week or less.4
The food processing industry has been particularly dynamic, averaging growth of 12% per year from 2010 till 20165. This spells new business opportunities for you. For example, your company can collaborate with Egyptian partners to co-create food processing or packaging solutions that increase productivity, with the aid of technology.
3 USDA Report, 2015
4 “Egypt sees local production and export growth”, Oxford Business Group, 2017
5 World Bank, 2017
The political situation in Egypt has stabilised. Countries are lifting their travel ban, and visitors are returning to the country. There were 8.3 million tourists in 2017, and Egypt said visitor numbers are on track to reach pre-revolution levels by 20216.
Cheaper prices and an improved security situation have boosted tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2018, which were up 30% over the previous year, and hotel occupancy rates are at their highest since 20107.
Cairo boasts of luxury hotel brands such as Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton. In a sign of returning investor confidence, St. Regis will be opening a brand new hotel in Cairo in 2018.
Egypt has indicated that the country will be offering international investors the opportunity to develop sustainable cities along the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts. In April 2018, the Tourism Development Authority indicated that it has identified locations around the country to establish high-end projects, and that tenders will be announced once the list and plan are finalised.
Upcoming developments such as the New Alamein City and Cairo’s new administrative capital are expected to help drive tourist traffic by adding to the number of places to visit in Egypt. These new cities are part of a larger plan to reform the tourism sector.
The rebound in tourism in Egypt bodes well for Singapore companies in the tourism and hospitality sector. You can consider extending your service offerings to Egypt, be it through fly-cruise-stay packages, tailored travel itineraries, or tourist accommodation.
6 “Egypt forecasts more than 8 million visitors in 2018”, The National, 22 April 2018
7 “Tourists return to Egypt as prices fall and security improves”, Financial Times, 20 May 2018