Investing in Egypt

Hello everyone,

During your expatriation in Egypt, you might have been made aware of interesting investment schemes (local or international). Whether one wants to make money grow, protect oneself or prepare for retirement, investment is always an attractive option. It is, however, never free of risk. Would you, therefore, like to share some practical information for other expats and expats to be?

Is the Egyptian economy open to foreign investment? Do local authorities encourage investment (through formalities, tax etc.)?

What are the promising sectors to invest and do business in Egypt?

Who do you turn to for information before investing your money? (organisation, professional, lawyer, consultant)

According to the sectors of activity and the projects, what budget should be foreseen for an investment in Egypt?

What do you think are the pitfalls to avoid and what advice would you give someone who wants to invest?

Thanks in advance for your feedback,
Diksha

I registered a limited liability company in Egypt in 1997: I bought land and built a workshop on it. I employed 50 workers.

It took 3 years to get connected to electricity: in the end we took the electricity company to court, and won. But in the meantime I had to buy a big generator or allow my newborn business to die.

We are still not connected to water 20 years later.

The local authority hit us with illegal re-zoning fees equivalent to 4 times the purchase cost of the land. We took them to court, and again, we won. But the court decision is simply ignored, and veiled threats are made to kick me out of the country unless we pay.

We have been in and out of the labour courts for over twenty years, and lost every single case.

We have been screwed over by our own lawyers more times than I can recount.

I have had over thirty AIDS/HIV tests, which are a condition for the issuance of a work permit.

Knowing what I now know, I would never have invested in Egypt as an independent investor, all those years ago.

And the worst of it all, whereas I want to close the business and retire, I am terrified of the costs involved, which appear to be without defined limit.

Finally: forget the legal definition of a limited liability company. It exists on the statute book, but in practise your personal liability is unlimited.

When investing in Egypt, you have to be careful with the people you deal with.
  As a private investor, I bought my properties from private companies. But I realized that was a mistake because there are no laws and regulations regarding maintenance cost. Some just wake up and tell you that they have raised the cost by whatever percentage they wanted. Such individuals never give you account of the expenditure even when you demand one. As long as Egypt does not make laws protecting buyers from rogue developers who manage properties, the property market may not favour buyers.
  Dealing directly with government officials is straight forward. I have always gotten things sorted out quickly without any difficulties.
   In that aspect, Egypt is a good place to invest.
     I have found it easier to operate with companies like ORASCOM because they operate the system of management I am more used to.
  I have not undertaken any project directly so I can't comment on that.
  I have only bought into projects already developed.
  I think the government needs to come and protect buyers from rogue developers who see maintenance cost as money making opportunity to scam people into handing over their properties in future when the management costs becomes too high to pay. It's always rising more than the value of the properties. Regulations have to be in place to monitor the activities of such rogue developers.
  Apart from that, I consider Egypt a very good place to invest.

hi there

i would be keen to look at your workshop what do you deal in am a foreigner too and seeing you want to shut it down i am thinking around those lines maybe can get some of your stuff

regards

Hello, investment in Egypt depends of the investing value as if it is big then real estate can be good but you need to have a trusty person who can advise the best deals to avoid going into bad choice, but if you like quietness and nature then I suggest a farm which will nee a few years to set up and to start to yield as I do that from about 35 years and I get good income and very nice place away from crowd and very healthy, but if you are scared from any project then you can invest your fund in the bank and get about 10% interest but I do not advise this much, also there are other investments but it is not guaranteed, and the main point for any project is to find the honest person to get his advise and help, good luck.

I was in Egypt for almost four years. I had some money and wanted to invest because I came with my wife and seven children to print books as well as study the Quran and Arabic. The company I brought printing of over $300,000.00 could not get me residence permit to enable me travel in and out of Egypt without the hassle of applying for visa always. I own one of the largest Islamic publishing company in Nigeria. Similarly, the second time, I gave them printing of over $500,000.00, no resident permit. Only last week the company called me that they needed printing. I asked them for resident permit, they said they will see to it. I am moving my business to another country.
I met a lawyer who advised I should open an account with a bank and deposit $50,000.00 and I will get a resident permit as well as have the opportunity to start business. The account was opened, but my instinct advised against making the deposit. I did not. Another time, I returned to Egypt and went to the bank. Record said, I had no account. God saved me.
Egypt must grow and liberalise it's visa policy. And Egyptians must become less afraid of their government and companies must establish visa officers who will liase with moghamma for foreigners.

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