Investors hoping to set up shop in Egypt run into red tape wrangles



The one-stop shop continues to be in vogue in Egypt, but investors wanting to set up a factory in the country should not expect quick results.

Although it is now relatively easy to establish a company, getting a licence to operate a factory is almost as cumbersome as it was before the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (Gafi) set up a single window for investors more than a decade ago.

Before even applying for a licence, investors must typically locate a piece of land, establish a company and get an environmental assessment and a building permit from the local authorities.

Depending on the type of activity, the licence then requires a long list of often hard-to-obtain approvals from a whole array of authorities that can include environment, antiquities, civil aviation (for height of structures), civil defence (in case of fires), the military, irrigation and many others.

They must also get industrial registration, initially only good for one year, from the Industrial Development Authority (Ida).

Depending on the type of industry, a host of other special licences from separate authorities are also needed. For example, if a company wants to install boilers in its factory, it needs a separate licence for each.

A factory to make drinking glasses causes ionisation. To get an operating licence, investors will need the approval of the health ministry, says Ahmed Darwish, a former minister of state for administration development.

This means that they have to go to the ministry, which sets up a committee, which then needs to visit the factory, all at the investors’ expense in a process that can take months. Committee members will also probably get a few gifts.

In most other countries, investors are merely required to sign forms agreeing to adhere to standards, with the authorities making the occasional random and periodic inspection. There are so many laws and so many authorities, even the government itself sometimes does not know how many approvals are needed.

An extremely lucky investor might finish the process in six months, but it could run into years.

Many laws are still in place that nobody knows about. Sometimes a law may say a certain licence is required, but in reality no government body has actually ever issued that licence, say lawyers. Laws will say one thing, but the reality is something else.

If the activity involves industry, the investor must first find land. Some land is controlled by the New Urban Communities Authority (Nuca), some by Gafi and others by Ida.

The jurisdiction and competencies of these authorities sometimes overlap, as do the laws governing them.

Finding the land is often one of the most complicated tasks. Nuca affiliated to the housing ministry, Ida is under control of the trade and industry ministry, and Gafi is under the prime minister’s office.

These authorities must typically form committees to visit the factory site, issue a report, make their recommendations and give their approvals. The jurisdiction and competencies of the three authorities sometimes overlap, as do the laws governing them, and there are often complications involved in the type of title after the land is allocated.

A major part of the problem is that over the years the government has been adding new layers and fixes to the system, but not grappling with the problem as a whole. It is forever creating new laws without abolishing the old.

Some laws date from the monarchy, including the Egyptian Civil Code, and have remained largely untouched. Others were issued in the 1960s and 1970s when the economy was mainly state-owned. Yet others were added when it began to be liberalised again. These different layers have yet to be combined into coherent framework.

In recent decades Egypt’s elite began sending its children to study more in the US and Great Britain than in France, and as a result in the 1990s the country began shifting its orientation towards Anglo-Saxon law. There remains a conflict between the two systems.

According to a 1954 law, local government units are responsible for issuing operating licences. Gafi was established in 1970, when virtually all industry was owned by the state, Nuca in 1979 specifically to develop new cities, which now number about two dozen, and Ida in 2005 to help private investors.

All these dinosaur authorities are fighting internal battles with one another.

The solution is for the government to re-evaluate and combine all the industrial and investment laws and to combine all the authorities under a single overriding authority. This, say lawyers, would solve perhaps about half the problems faced by investors.

Patrick Werr has worked as a financial writer in Egypt for 25 years.

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

Abu Dhabi traffic facts

Drivers in Abu Dhabi spend 10 per cent longer in congested conditions than they would on a free-flowing road

The highest volume of traffic on the roads is found between 7am and 8am on a Sunday.

Travelling before 7am on a Sunday could save up to four hours per year on a 30-minute commute.

The day was the least congestion in Abu Dhabi in 2019 was Tuesday, August 13.

The highest levels of traffic were found on Sunday, November 10.

Drivers in Abu Dhabi lost 41 hours spent in traffic jams in rush hour during 2019

 

GOODBYE JULIA

Director: Mohamed Kordofani

Starring: Siran Riak, Eiman Yousif, Nazar Goma

Rating: 5/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet

Price, base: Dh429,090

Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission Seven-speed automatic

Power 510hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 700Nm @ 1,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 9.2L / 100km

Everybody Loves Touda

Director: Nabil Ayouch 

Starring: Nisrin Erradi, Joud Chamihy, Jalila Talemsi

Rating: 4/5

THE BIO:

Favourite holiday destination: Thailand. I go every year and I’m obsessed with the fitness camps there.

Favourite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s an amazing story about barefoot running.

Favourite film: A League of their Own. I used to love watching it in my granny’s house when I was seven.

Personal motto: Believe it and you can achieve it.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 14 PRO MAX

Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A16 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Triple 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP telephoto (f/2.8), 6x optical, 15x digital, Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4323mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Durability: IP68, dust/splash/water resistant up to 6m up to 30min

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Deep purple, gold, silver, space black

In the box: iPhone 14 Pro Max, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh4,699 / Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799

'The Batman'

Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5

WORLD CUP SEMI-FINALS

England v New Zealand (Saturday, 12pm)

Wales v South Africa (Sunday, 1pm)

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Fight card
  • Aliu Bamidele Lasisi (Nigeria) beat Artid Vamrungauea (Thailand) POINTS
  • Julaidah Abdulfatah (Saudi Arabia) beat Martin Kabrhel (Czech Rep) POINTS
  • Kem Ljungquist (Denmark) beat Mourad Omar (Egypt) TKO
  • Michael Lawal (UK) beat Tamas Kozma (Hungary) KO​​​​​​​
  • Zuhayr Al Qahtani (Saudi Arabia) beat Mohammed Mahmoud (UK) POINTS
  • Darren Surtees (UK) beat Kane Baker (UK) KO
  • Chris Eubank Jr (UK) beat JJ McDonagh (Ireland) TKO
  • Callum Smith (UK) beat George Groves (UK) KO
Book Details

Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women
Editors: Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, Sunil Sharma
Publisher: Indiana University Press; 532 pages

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Real Madrid 1
Ronaldo (87')

Athletic Bilbao 1
Williams (14')

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

2021 World Triathlon Championship Series

May 15: Yokohama, Japan
June 5: Leeds, UK
June 24: Montreal, Canada
July 10: Hamburg, Germany
Aug 17-22: Edmonton, Canada (World Triathlon Championship Final)
Nov 5-6 : Abu Dhabi, UAE
Date TBC: Chengdu, China

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

The biog

Name: Fareed Lafta

Age: 40

From: Baghdad, Iraq

Mission: Promote world peace

Favourite poet: Al Mutanabbi

Role models: His parents 

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

UFC Fight Night 2

1am – Early prelims

2am – Prelims

4am-7am – Main card

7:30am-9am – press cons

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos