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Doing Business in Egypt 2008: First Subnational Report Shows How Egypt's Improving Business Climate Extends to Governorates


In Cairo, Egypt:
Riham Mustafa

Phone: 20 2 2461 9140

cell: +(02) 010 224 7482

e-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:

Rebecca Ong +1 202 458-0434
Cell: +1 (202) 651-1390

Email:
rong@ifc.org


Cairo, December 8, 2007—In the last two years, doing business in Egypt became easier across governorates, according to the new Doing Business in Egypt 2008 report, launched today in Cairo. Starting a business at the one-stop shop in Assiut or Alexandria is now as easy and almost as fast as it is in the capital. And soon, it will be easier—improvements in the ease of opening a business prove that reforms initiated by the central government in Cairo can be successfully replicated throughout the country.

State- and city-level performances are becoming increasingly important in a globalized world, where specific locations, rather than countries, compete for investment—Alexandria versus Shanghai, rather than Egypt versus China.


Doing Business in Egypt 2008
measures the ways in which government regulations enhance business activity or restrain it at the subnational level. The report shows that there are good practices within the country that can be replicated easily in other cities. It studies three Doing Business topics: starting a business, dealing with licenses, and registering property in Alexandria, Assiut, and Cairo. Doing Business in Egypt 2008 also provides information on the government’s reform efforts that affect other areas measured by the Doing Business reports, including getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, and trading across borders.


Payoffs from reform can be huge. Higher rankings on the ease of doing business are associated with growth, additional jobs, and a smaller informal sector. “Creating jobs is a priority for any government. More business-friendly regulations create opportunities and more equitable growth. Egyptian governorates would benefit greatly from new enterprises and jobs, which can come with more business-friendly regulations,” said Mierta Capaul, lead author of Doing Business in Egypt 2008.


Even if laws and regulations are the same across Egyptian districts and governorates, the time it takes to meet all the legal requirements can vary widely across locations. This is the case with property registration—it takes 33 days in Assiut but 159 days on the outskirts of Alexandria to register property. The process is most time-consuming in Cairo, where entrepreneurs have to wait over six months. Differences in municipal requirements are most pronounced when it comes to construction licenses. In Assiut, construction permits require 19 procedures and 109 days; in Cairo, 28 procedures and 249 days; and in Alexandria, 30 procedures and 207 days.


Egypt’s governorates and districts can learn from each other by adopting good regulations and practices that exist elsewhere in the country. Simple administrative reforms can make the country’s governorates more competitive nationally and globally. For example, if Cairo were to adopt Assiut’s speedy property registration processes, the time to register property would drop from 193 to 33 days, just slightly longer than in Austria or Chile. Cutting the time to deal with licenses to the level of Assiut also would make builders in other cities competitive with builders in Singapore.


The project is the result of a request from the Ministry of Investment to FIAS, a multidonor investment climate advisory service of the World Bank Group. The report was produced with the help of the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones and the financial support of IFC and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  The Doing Business in Egypt 2008 project is based on the efforts of over 70 lawyers, construction experts, accountants, business people, and public officials routinely administering or advising on legal and regulatory requirements. The data, methodology, and names of contributors are available online at http://www.doingbusiness.org/egypt.


For interview requests, media queries or to RSVP please contact:


In Cairo, Egypt
:
Riham Mustafa

Phone: 20 2 2461 9140

cell: +(02) 010 224 7482

e-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:

Rebecca Ong +1 202 458-0434
Cell: +1 (202) 651-1390

Email:
rong@ifc.org

For more information on the Doing Business report series, visit
www.doingbusiness.org
For copies of the Doing Business in Egypt 2008 report, visit
www.doingbusiness.org/egypt