Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Egypt and Misconceptions

Sun 03 Mar 2024 | 01:30 PM
Saeed Abdo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dar Al Maaref Publishers

Egypt is undoubtedly home to a multitude of factories and brands that have been significantly contributing to the Egyptian economy for a long time. However, following the Israel-Gaza conflict, there has been a loud call for boycotting all globally branded products. 

These factories and franchise stores, employing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, rely on local materials and create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities for suppliers and those involved with their products.

Moreover, these companies are among the top taxpayers in Egypt and are significant investors, depending on dozens of local industries for production inputs. They also contribute substantially to community service and sustainability efforts. There are companies that have been operating in Egypt for a long time, employing tens of thousands of people, whose families depend on their incomes. 

Without these companies, there is no alternative for employing these masses elsewhere, especially considering the Egyptian labor that had been working in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan, who returned to Egypt and now need employment amidst the country's economic challenges.

Furthermore, closing these factories and shops would be costly, as the expense of creating a single job is significant. There's a need to integrate everyone graduating from universities or schools into the job market, amidst this culture. While supporting Palestine and dreaming of the return of Palestinian lands, it is crucial to foster an investment-friendly climate for Arab, foreign, and especially Egyptian investors.

It's a call for self-compassion and a shift in mindset, avoiding ideas that won't benefit any cause as the Egyptian economy needs work, innovative ideas, and production above all. I wish to see a campaign focused on improving product quality, increasing exports, and human development. 

The most important thing is to produce what we need and achieve a competitive Egyptian product domestically and internationally, capable of penetrating global markets.

In 2022 alone, the food industry exports reached about $4.5 billion, with exports from companies carrying global brands operating in Egypt and exporting under the "Made in Egypt" label amounting to $1.7 billion, representing 37% of the total exports for that year. Only a strong economy capable of absorbing crises can solve all crises and graduate university batches needed by the job market.

Wisdom's Head... and Other Matters

This is the topic of the hour, both inside and outside Egypt, due to its positive impact on the investment climate and the significant opportunities available in Egypt. It's a message primarily to the Egyptian investor that the field is open and serious projects will find their way and facilitation from the state.

Wisdom's Head offers opportunities for labor and also for the Egyptian investor, opening up new investments in places for the first time using the latest systems. Of course, construction and its requirements will predominantly feature Egyptian products and labor, adding value from all aspects and sending a message of confidence to the world in Egypt's investment climate.

The markets were influenced by the beginnings and announcements alone, bringing a positive spirit to the Egyptian market, which I hope continues.

Egyptian Airports

The Minister of Aviation also announced the imminent exploitation and management of Egyptian airports by foreign management, a practice common worldwide and not a novelty. It should be a source of income and pride for the state.

Airports are the first and last thing visitors see, leaving a lasting impression, either good or very bad, on those coming to Egypt.

Cairo Airport

Being one of the oldest airports in the Middle East and Africa, the first development in EgyptAir's fleet and Cairo Airport took place under engineer Mohamed Fahim Rayan. Recently, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Borg El Arab, Luxor, and Aswan airports were expanded and renovated, and new airports like the Administrative Capital, Sphinx, and Marsa Alam were introduced, creating an extensive airport network across Egypt.

However, taking Cairo Airport as an example, the main gateway to Egypt with its 4 terminals each dedicated to a specific purpose, from entering the country - an experience not more than a week old - I find the baggage handling and long queues problematic, with personnel calling out for passengers with cigarettes, hookah, or medications. Despite screening machines showing everything clearly, I was asked by a police officer to open my bag for medications, which were for personal use and not required to present a prescription for.

After that, passport control, both inbound and outbound, has an insufficient number of officers for the passenger rush, and the equipment used is primitive compared to current technology that could eliminate the need for passport officers. Given the manual operations, necessary staffing should be provided.

This congestion costs passengers time, and the personal inspection involves tedious queues not found in even the smallest airports worldwide. The situation is the same upon return, with poor-quality and malfunctioning baggage trolleys, and a welcome to restrooms in anticipation of tips and poor labor.

Meanwhile, smaller countries boast modern airports, reflecting the country's beauty, offering services without charge, and updating all procedures.

Well done to the Minister of Aviation for this new beginning in optimally utilizing and managing arrivals, ultimately benefiting the country.