Why it’s prime time now to invest in Egypt: A start-up’s take
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”, Warren Buffet’s sound business advice for picking good stock might apply perfectly in the case of a start-up looking to expand internationally. When scouting for a location for its 2nd African office, Infomineo settled, rather quickly, on Egypt as a logical choice to fortify the company’s geographical footprint in the continent.
Arguably, Egypt has weathered the storm relatively peacefully compared to neighboring geographies, showing that the country has some solid stability pillars that are hard to shake.
No doubt about it, Egypt is still experimenting with democracy and stability will take longer than initially expected to take full shape, which is enough reason to be fearful. However, if investors wait until Egypt is fully up and running on the business track, it might be too late by then to take full advantage of Egypt’s business potential, which is even more reason to be “greedy” to invest in the country, now.
Analyzing the hard economic figures published after 2011 will be the tree that hides a forest of opportunities that is Egypt currently, so it will only be misleading to base an investment decision solely on those; this article won’t, but will rather consider the big picture on why investing in Egypt, at the current conjuncture, makes perfect business sense.
Every argument made in favour of investing in Egypt that was made prior to 2011 is still valid now: Egypt is geographically and culturally proximate to the central Middle Eastern markets; its human capital is qualified, abundant and competitively accessible not to mention that demand from its own domestic market, on top of being important, is constantly increasing.
A bit blinded by the post revolution political instability, investors started ruling out Egypt as a destination of their economic projects often forgetting Egypt’s privileged position as an outsourcing platform for the region and the world. For more than a decade now, the country successfully hosted service support centres for renowned international companies and is able to host much more thanks mainly to the available business facilities, developed telecom infrastructure and the well-trained workforce.
India’s example is a clear testament that countries can become international powerhouses in selected service industries while in parallel developing socially and economically. Some might argue that India reached that level in part thanks to being an established democracy; time will tell if Egypt will chose to go the same path and add political stability to its already long checklist of investment-friendly criteria.
Mohammed Zin El Abidine, Manager, Infomineo.