In the year since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted, Egypt has faced many social challenges but it is now the threat of worsening economic conditions that are further sabotaging hopes for the future. Being the fourth-largest economy in the Middle East, its success, or failure, will have a huge impact on the region and beyond.
Some analysts suggest that in a civil society, Egypt could become one of the world’s top 10 economies in just one generation. In a recent interview the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s economic committee, Ashraf Badr el-Din, suggested that the Brotherhood and other main parties are moving toward consensus on managing the economy and cracking down on financial corruption, and if true, that’s a good sign. Acquisition International speaks to the experts.Modern Agriculture Company-PICO, a leading Egyptian family owned Shareholding Company successfully working in developing agri projects for over 30 years to produce premium quality fruits and vegetables and exporting its products worldwide with all the high-end retailers in the UK and EU included.
PICO; a leader among the fresh produce business sector, supports Egypt against the continued pressure on the country’s foreign currency reserves by continuously bringing in foreign currency into the Egyptian market and the financial sector. “The company has a great solid reputation of having superior quality products and services in delivering its products with the utmost respect to the environment through the company’s active supply chain system and quality assurance department.
Plans for sustainability and growth based on ambitious plans have been engineered to realize the company’s full vision and benefit to all stakeholders.In spite of a very unstable year for Egypt, the company has successfully fulfilled its financial commitments and has kept its human capital in full and continues to hire new individuals to become the company’s future growth engine. The company regards the investment in human capital as the most rewarding investment to the company, its employees and to Egypt. Regarding the current investment environment in Egypt, undoubtedly, we have some serious concerns.
However, it has to be noted that throughout the turmoil in Egypt following the Jan. 2011 revolution and the disruption that came with it, many sectors were affected, but the energy and agri sectors were almost unharmed.
This is measured by the continuous increase in demand and the recorded increase in agriculture and food exports during the 2011, which reached an increase of 23% compared to 2010.”Founded in 1987, following the closing of the Cairo office of the U.S. law firm of Sidley & Austin, where Mohammed Hassouna was a partner while Ahmed Abou Ali worked in Sidley’s Chicago Office, Hassouna & Abou Ali has become one of Egypt’s leading business law firms, offering a full range of legal services.
Ahmed Abou Ali is managing partner of Hassouna & Abou Ali Law Firm, Cairo, Egypt he comments: “Our client base is mainly foreign companies doing business in Egypt. Hassouna & Abou Ali is renowned in the following practice areas: banking, corporate, commercial, construction, real estate, intellectual property, investment, labor, oil & gas, project finance, securities, tax, telecommunication, tourism and privatization laws and regulations The Firm also handles litigation and alternative dispute resolution including arbitration and mediation.
Can you please describe the quality of the business environment in Egypt at the moment? “During the period from 2005 to 2010, the Government took several measures towards the improvement of the investment climate and facilitating investment procedures for local and foreign investors. Some improvements include, elimination of minimum capital requirements for some types of companies, significantly reducing time required for company formation, adopting a new unified income tax law which reduces corporate tax to 20% in general, among other reforms.
During that period, Egypt’s rank in the annual IFC Doing Business Report has jumped from 165 in 2007 to 94 in 2011. Although these reforms are still in force, the recent events that have been taking place in Egypt since January 2011 have significantly affected the flow of foreign investments and halted many existing investments. This, in turn, resulted in an increasing budget deficit, a rise in unemployment, and a slowdown of economic growth.”
Can you please highlight any reforms planned for the next 12 months to spur private business ventures, foreign investment and growth?“With the Parliament convened, many economic reforms are being proposed and discussed but no concrete information is available. Reforms being currently discussed include, in broad terms, offering further incentives for foreign investors and tax exemptions.”
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