Exporting to Egypt - Getting into the market

Egypt is around 80 per cent Muslim with the remainder of the country mainly Coptic Christians. Islam has a pervasive influence here as elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa and it is important for companies to take this into account in their business dealings be it how to dress for a meeting or the use of promotional material.

Some companies have long-standing ties with Egyptian businesses and organisations, in some cases a legacy of British involvement in the country decades ago. Others find the use of agents or distributors more satisfactory given the distance, language and cultural barriers which may be encountered. Some regard agents as essential.

There are opportunities for UK firms in many sectors. The country has a growing automotive sector with world-leading brands such as Daimler, Kia, and Peugeot being manufactured under licence. Mercedes-Benz has carved out a niche in the commercial vehicle sector. Chemicals and consumer electronics are becoming increasingly important sub-sectors within the industrial economy. Steel, too, is an important industry while clothing and textiles remains significant and a major employer. The construction and contracting sector figures increasingly as a contributor to the country’s wealth.

In the service sector banking and insurance are continuing to expand having undergone major reforms in the 1990s. Egypt has long been the information and cultural hub of the Arab World with an increasingly sophisticated communications industry centred on Cairo. A process of liberalisation in the telecommunications industry began more than a decade ago and still continues.

Emerging industrial sectors such as ICT also provide opportunities for British businesses.