CAIRO : The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), in coordination with the chamber’s U.S.-Egypt Business Council and the Egypt-U.S. Business Council, organized the U.S. Business Mission to Egypt between October 23-25, 2018.
The delegation included Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, Sarah Kemp, as well as hundreds of experts and representatives from leading American businesses. The delegation also included senior representation from the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im). A number of people from the delegation will be meeting with President Abdel Fatal al-Sisi.
With the top 50 leading American companies present, the mission’s came to Egypt to “underscore the continued commitment and unwavering support of the American business community to Egypt’s long-term stability and economic development; as well as to explore prospective business opportunities,” according to AmCham.
A wide range of experts and prominent individuals in the business sector attended the conference, as well as many Egyptian ministers.
Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly attended the conference, along with many ministers, including: Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly, Minister of Public Business Sector Hisham Tawfik, Minister of Planning, Follow Up and Administrative Reform Hala el-Saeed, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Aly El-Mosalhy, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed El-Assar, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla.
The Ministers, as well as the Prime Minister, all gave speeches about the importance of the cooperation and business between American corporations and Egyptians, with many of them focusing on discussions with the delegation on how to increase investments in Egypt, particularly given the challenges that are currently facing the business world within the country.
Waly, who spoke on October 23, and was among the first to give speeches, explained to the delegation the cabinet’s development plan and their investment and incentive programs. Waly also spoke about governmental efforts to combat poverty, unemployment and positive steps that the government has taken to better the investment atmosphere in Egypt.
Furthermore, she mentioned that the government has made a significant effort to make a comprehensive database of living conditions throughout Egypt. The government used this database to evaluate which programs to apply where and when, and which areas should be developed in what manner.
Speaking to the representatives from the top 50 American companies, Waly said, “We need your business. We are a vibrant country, and this comes within Egypt and US’s historical and strategic partnership and relationship.”
Other ministers also spoke about the importance of American business in Egypt. For example, Talaat explained that Egypt’s underwater communication network, which links Africa, Asia and Europe, make it the second largest country in the world. The Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology stated that this makes Egypt a very capable partner in the business world, especially in playing a role in the international field of communications.
He continued to explain that the country excels in the call centre industry, one of today’s leading industries and one that Egypt has been trying to expend over the past period. Talaat explained that Egypt has the ability to employ top-notch qualified workers due to Egyptians’ ability to learn languages quickly; he added that the communication sector has grown by 3.5 percent, from previous years’ 1.5 percent to 5 percent this year.
Moreover, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in statement, “The cooperation between Egypt and the US contributed to Egypt becoming at the top of the list of African countries and the second in the Middle East in trade volume with the US.”
The American Chargé d’Affaires, Thomas H. Goldberger, also spoke of the great partnership between the American companies and Egyptians, saying that American companies are the leading ones worldwide.
“It goes almost without saying that American companies are the finest in the world. Their scale is global and they have played a pivotal leadership role in the success of the global economy over the past 70 years. American corporate leadership in building global prosperity is ongoing as a brief look at the performance of American markets and current economic statistics will show you,” said Goldberger.
He went on to explain that American companies are not just good because they are successful on the business front, they are also good because they give back to the community, “One thing that stands out about American companies, and, I believe, that distinguishes them from competitors around the world, is the effort they make wherever they are to be good corporate citizens and to contribute to the long term success and thriving of societies in which they invest and in which they operate.”
He continued, “American companies bring investment and create employment. In providing the best products to consumers at the best prices, they do so with an eye to the future and to the long-term interests both of the companies themselves and the societies and economies that host them. They bring the best technology and innovative processes for applying technology to work; they strive for diversity in the workforce and promote and advance talented employees based on merit and accomplishment; they protect the environment and minimize their environmental footprint; they promote strong ethical values of responsibility and transparency; and they do all this in a spirit of service to the customer and to society as a whole.”
“The United States strongly values and actively promotes this high standard of corporate citizenship and social responsibility, one that comes naturally to American companies. In addition to strong business practices, American companies strive to “give back” to their local host communities. It’s good business and it’s good citizenship whether in the United States or overseas.”
Overall, he explained, the partnership between Egypt and American companies are great, “U.S. companies doing business in Egypt are making substantial impacts in local communities through a variety of social engagement programs and projects. There are many examples of this and doubtless many more than I know about, but I want to highlight a handful that have come to my attention.”