Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations, is today becoming one of the hottest investment destinations. Seven years ago, the Egyptian government adopted a long-term strategy to boost the performance and economic attractiveness of the country. Starting with monetary reforms with the assistance of the IMF, Egypt has implemented one of the most successful programs of economic turnaround. The Egyptian experience was praised by all international institutions and is presented as the example for developing countries to follow.
In parallel with monetary reforms, the authorities have been conducting many infrastructure megaprojects (transportation, energy, digital transformation, legislative) to prepare Egypt for a long period of sustainable growth.
The fruits of these reforms and huge investments are already having an impact on the Egyptian economy. Based on IMF predictions, Egypt will be one of only 18 countries to enjoy economic growth in 2020 (revised upwards to + 3.5% in September after a June forecast of 2%). Long-term growth should be close to 8%.
Growth is accelerating, and business opportunities are emerging like nowhere else in the world. Egypt is clearly open for business. Having worked during 20 years in 15 countries located in 3 continents, I can confirm that the magnitude of change achieved by Egypt, greatly surpasses anything I have seen before.
Below, you will find 30 strong reasons why you should consider Egypt as your next investment destination.
Investors will find many market opportunities in Egypt, as well as untapped growth potential
1) Vast market, thanks to a large (100 million) and young (average age 25) population, which is expected to reach 160 million by 2050.
2) One of the most diversified emerging economies, making Egypt resilient to crisis and economic cycles.
4) The eighth-highest contributor to global growth in 2019 (PPP-based), according to Bloomberg, thanks to multiple growth engines.
Infrastructure is ready to support business growth
5) Ranked 28th worldwide for road quality, thanks to the huge investments undertaken by the government (Egypt was ranked 115th as recently as five years ago).
6) Cheap, abundant, and diversified energy sources (gas, solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear).
• Excess capacity of 15 gigawatts -after a deficit in 2013- exported t oneighbouring countries.
• Regional center for gas transformation and export to Europe, thanks to large reserves and established processing facilities.
• One of the largest solar parks in the world, Benban, covering 37.2 km2 and visible from space, producing 4 TWh of electricity per year.
7) Determination to boost green energy production and use.
• Renewable energy target at 60% by 2035
• National program to replace gasoline by LNG and to rely in the near future on locally produced electric vehicles.
8) Tripling of Internet speed in just 12 months and still accelerating.
9) 887 new laws passed, and 294 international treaties ratified in the last five years to attract foreign investors and increase the efficiency of government services.
• new investment law.
• digitization of customs.
• digitization of tax collection.
• many more initiatives expected particularly in the new administrative capital.
10) Already signed trade treaties giving free access to 2.6 billion people including 47 European countries, and 19 Eastern and southern African countries (Comesa).
The geographical location of Egypt has always been an unmatched advantage throughout human history.
11) Proximity to many European markets, gateway to Africa, regional hub for the Middle East (confirmed by Amazon’s recent decision to set-up in Egypt its regional manufacturing hub ).
12) What can we say about the Suez Canal, through which 10% of the world’s traffic moves?
13) Spared from most natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, volcanos, cyclones, and tsunamis.
The 100 million population offers an immense pool of talent
15) 125 general universities by 2030 teaching disciplines most in demand, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, health-tech, IoT, an increase from the current 72 universities.
16) Ranked 56th out of 172 countries in Government AI Readiness Index, jumping 63 places in a single year.
17) Wide use of European languages, particularly English, making Egypt a hub for international call centers (e.g. Vodafone).
18) Cheap labor, thanks to the low cost of living: average monthly salaries are $150 for workers and $400 for engineers.
Egypt offers a rich and mature business environment
20) 38 commercial banks, 39 insurance companies, many investment banks, numerous law firms, specialized local and international management consulting companies, multiple chambers of commerce for specific sectors or bilateral cooperation with foreign countries, several governmental bodies providing reliable data about the Egyptian market (CAPMAS, ECES), rich choice of office space, free zones benefitting from exemptions from customs taxes, sales tax, and many other fees.
21) A sound banking system considered the most efficient worldwide (cost-to-income ratio less than 30%).
22) Egypt hosts 138 foreign embassies, higher than the 121 embassies in the UAE and the 112 embassies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
23) Price purchasing parity (PPP) of 4.33 according to the world bank , making Egypt four times cheaper than the US (and even cheaper compared to many European countries).
24) Ranked the eighth-safest country in the world, according to a Gallup Global Law and Order report, ahead of all European countries except Norway and Switzerland.
Egypt is beating all macroeconomic targets
25) Strong long-term growth prospects averaging between 6% and 8%; one of only 18 countries (and the only country in the MENA region) expected to have positive economic growth in 2020 (+ 3.5%), according to the IMF; same positive outlook for the European bank for reconstruction and development, making Egypt the only economy across all of the EBRD regions likely to escape recession in 2020.
27) Stable currency: one of the few emerging currencies to appreciate against the dollar in 2020 (+ 2.1% YTD on October 31st).
28) Political stability proven by the smooth democratic process to elect the representatives of both parliament chambers in 2020.
29) Shrinking trade deficit, increasing remittances (+ 7.8% year on year after seven months of 2020), rebound of Egypt’s reserve of foreign currencies to reach USD 38 billion, covering eight months of imports.
30) Second-highest real interest rate in the world, despite recent rate cuts, making Egypt the new darling of emerging markets, foreign investors’ holdings of government T-bills reached $21 billion in mid-October, up from $10.4 billion by the end of May 2020, only country in the Middle East and Africa to maintain its credit rating with a stable outlook at the big three rating agencies, despite Covid-19 challenges.
On top of all these rational reasons, Egypt offers a magnificent climate, splendid sandy beaches, rich coral seas, mind-blowing historical monuments, and a most vibrant social life. All these additional aspects offer a superb quality of life for foreign expats.
Last but not least, Egyptians are genuinely one of the warmest and most friendly people on earth, bonding easily and appreciating long-lasting relationships.
So, what are you waiting for? Come to Egypt and we will help you explore investment opportunities!
Author: Nadim Samna, Managing Partner at Stratexis
Chaka secures $1.5M pre-seed round to power digital investments and wealth management opportunities across Africa
Chaka CEO, Tosin Osibodu at a press briefing (Image & Press Release: Chaka)
Chaka is thrilled to announce its $1.5M pre-seed funding round led by Breyer Capital, a global venture firm focused on catalyzing growth in high-impact companies like Spotify, Facebook, and now, Chaka. Other participants in the round are 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Future Africa, Seedstars, and Musha Ventures.
Chaka is a technology solutions company on a mission to enable every business and person in Africa to access borderless digital investment and wealth management opportunities. The team combines investment expertise and best-in-class technology to provide reliable digital Investing, trading and wealth management solutions that are easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate.
Their mission is to enable digital border-less investing for African businesses and individuals. They’re powering the digital investment landscape in Africa through partnerships with asset managers, financial technology firms, and regulators with whom we have a shared mission. We achieve this by providing trading solutions that are easy to use and easy to integrate.
With this capital, they will focus on the goals to build a roster of formidable partners and accelerate expansion to other markets within West Africa. This investment also enables them to hire top talent and integrate more advanced functionalities into our investment and wealth management solutions.
Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, shared his view on this investment and it illustrates their shared vision: “We are proud to align ourselves with a company that is leveling the investment playing field for Nigerians (and Africans at large). We’re confident in the value Chaka provides through its digital tools, and we look forward to playing our part in supporting Tosin, Bo, Olaolu, and the Chaka team.”
This is a significant milestone for Chaka and could not have come this far without their users, partners, early investors, and a talented, achieving team of Champions.
They see digital investments as a means to boost economic transformation in Africa, and we’re very keen to bring this vision to life.
elmenus, Egypt’s Leading Food App Secures $10M Pre-Series C from Fawry, Luxor Capital and Marakez
Co-Founders (Image: elmenus)
elmenus and Fawry to co-develop innovative solutions for restaurants and customers
Luxor Capital’s first investment in the MENA region, previous investments include the biggest food ordering platforms globally, such as Zomato, Deliveryhero and Glovo
elmenus, Egypt’s biggest food discovery and ordering platform, has secured new funding from three new investors, based in the MENA region and North America. Fawry Group, the renowned digital transformation and e-payment platform is leading the investment from Egypt. The investment follows Fawry’s new strategy to take minority stakes in fast-growing, Egyptian, technology businesses. As well as investing, Fawry will work closely with elmenus to develop innovative solutions to benefit restaurants and consumers. Also investing is Marakez, a leading Egyptian real estate developer.
Ashraf Sabry, CEO of Fawry, said: “Fawry is looking forward to its journey with elmenus, working closely with the executive team and entering many ventures together. By this investment, we show our desire to not only be a payment catalyst but to be a strategic partner to elmenus, its customers, restaurants and their riders. The Egyptian food space has high growth potential, with technology disrupting the status quo, as customers’ needs in food service provision rapidly change.”
From North America, investment has also been received from New York-based hedge fund, Luxor Capital Group, which has $11 billion of assets under management. elmenus is its first investment in the MENA region testament to its’ growth track record and market opportunity in Egypt. Luxor has a long history of successfully investing in food technology companies around the world.
Amir Allam, CEO of elmenus, commented: “Attracting new investment from Fawry, Luxor Capital and Marakez – following the endorsement of industry veteran, David Buttress, earlier this year – validates elmenus’ unique strategy. We are accelerating the adoption of online ordering by users, while enabling restaurants with new verticals – to help them scale. This funding demonstrates the investors’ strong belief in our position in Egypt, and our capability to dominate the market.”
elmenus, which now has over 1.5 million monthly users, is the most comprehensive platform for restaurant information and food discovery in Egypt, and its aim is to personalize food recommendations at a dish level. elmenus continues to expand rapidly, and today’s announcement follows the investment and board appointment of David Buttress – the former CEO of global food ordering firm, JustEat – announced earlier this year.
By the end of 2021, elmenus expects to empower 12,000 restaurants with new data and tool offerings to help them scale their businesses, across 20 Egyptian cities. Its cutting-edge digital solutions will also drive its existing database of several million users, to switch to online ordering.
MarketForce secures $2M Pre-Series A round, plans to launch in Nigeria and scale up RejaReja in East Africa
MarketForce Co-founders, Tesh Mbaabu (Left) and Mesongo Sibuti (Right) (Image & Release: MarketForce)
Kenyan-based MarketForce, a B2B platform for retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services in Africa, announces a $2 million Pre-Series A round, bringing total funding to-date to $2.5 million. With this fresh round of funding, MarketForce has brought on V8 Capital, Future Africa, Greenhouse Capital, Launch Africa, Rebel Fund, Remapped Ventures, and a couple of strategic angel investors as new investors. They joined Y Combinator and existing investor P1 Ventures, who also participated in the oversubscribed round.
In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 90% of household retail transactions are in cash, and delivered through a network of about 100 million MSMEs, with 42 million in Nigeria alone. Retail payments on the continent are expected to top $2.1 trillion by 2025, and MarketForce aims to digitize a large portion of these offline transactions.
Co-founded in 2018 by Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti, MarketForce uniquely combines a field sales automation SaaS solution with it’s “RejaReja” B2B marketplace to digitize how informal retail merchants buy and sell FMCGs and digital financial services. RejaReja helps these corner shops, commonly referred to as ‘dukas’ in Kenya, get better service, assortment, and access to new revenue opportunities, outfitting them with the technology and support they need to transform themselves from simple FMCG outlets to comprehensive financial service hubs for the continent’s last-mile communities. Currently available in Kenya, RejaReja offers informal retailers next-day delivery for hundreds of SKUs from the leading FMCG brands.
Last month, MarketForce announced the strategic acquisition of Digiduka, which was formed and funded during the inaugural cohort of the Antler programme in Nairobi. This was a huge fintech step forward as RejaReja now provides a wallet that allows retailers to collect mobile money and bank payments via mobile app, WhatsApp bot or USSD shortcode, eliminating the high mobile money transaction fees and enabling merchants accept digital payments, access working credit and earn more by acting as distribution agents for popular financial services such as airtime, bills, utilities, and even insurance.
With this round of funding, MarketForce plans to launch in Nigeria and to scale up RejaReja to more towns in East Africa.
“We are seeing significant demand for our radically improved way for companies to distribute their goods and services in Africa, and we’re thrilled to get a boost from returning and new investors at this crucial time,” said Tesh Mbaabu, Co-founder and CEO of MarketForce. “The combination of our technology with the offline distribution network that we are building is essential to creating maximum output and impact in African retail distribution. Our goal is to create income growth opportunities for a million retailers and independent sales agents across Africa within the next five years.”
“Our clients and partners understand MarketForce’s power to increase sales performance and productivity across markets and industries,” said Co-founder and CTO Mesongo. “We are building the operating system for retail distribution in Africa, and we have the right combination of technology and team to make our Pan-African vision a reality.”
Today, MarketForce clients are able to gain access to both our software and the RejaReja marketplace, which has garnered over 15,000 retail customers, processing thousands of orders daily, and we are experiencing double digit revenue growth month over month. The MarketForce SaaS product on the other hand has garnered over 10,000 monthly active users, with over 300,000 transactions worth over 500 Million USD processed to date through the platform in 3 key markets; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Clients and partners include Safaricom, Pepsi, Grain Industries, Fort Beverages, Madison Insurance, Platinum Credit, Momentum Credit, Letshego, Pezesha and Lami.
“We are proud to back MarketForce to build the future of retail in Africa and help catalyze the digitization of the African retail market, which is highly informal, fragmented and undigitized, but holds a lot of untapped potential to improve incomes and enable millions of African retailers to grow their businesses. MarketForce sits in a place that enables them to generate a lot of value and empower every single participant in the massive retail industry,” said Adenike Sheriff, Principal at Future Africa.
“We are excited to strengthen our partnership with MarketForce,” said Mikael Hajjar, Managing Partner at P1 Ventures. “MarketForce is one of the fastest-growing African leaders in sales and distribution automation technology. We’ve witnessed the pain point that MarketForce’s product addresses and how its customers realize major productivity gains over substitutes.”
“I have known Mesongo and Tesh for over two years and MarketForce has proven that they know how to leverage the entire retail supply chain as a gateway for digital payments. Their organic as well as acquisition-driven growth & expansion strategy thus far has proven that their understanding of unit economics and marginal customer acquisition costs is solid. As a pan-African fintech company, they are very well positioned to tap into the $700 billion that gets transacted in this space every year,” said Zachariah George, Managing Partner at Launch Africa.