CAIRO: Egypt launched Tuesday a new service allowing for the e-registration of companies, a long awaited step to facilitate the registration of startups and eliminate red-tape in a bid to improve the country’s business environment.
The service was launched by Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin, Ministry of Administrative Development Ahmed Darwish and Chairman of the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones (GAFI) Assem Ragab.
The new service, which will run on Beta mode for the first three months, will allow investors to register different types of companies online.
“The service was launched with the same goal as the One-Stop Shop and other services: to increase investments in Egypt, Mohieldin said.
In the first phase of the e-registration project, investors will submit their applications online and then visit GAFI offices once to sign and pay fees. They will then receive confirmation once the company is successfully registered.
Phase two will allow investors to pay online and visit GAFI just to sign the contracts. “The preparation of the second phase is underway and Banque Misr has been chosen to handle the online payment for GAFI, said Hassan Fahmy, assistant GAFI chairman.
In phase three of the e-registration process, the service will be upgraded to allow for online signatures, according to a statement from GAFI.
A total of 6,293 companies were established in fiscal year 2008/09, he added, and “almost 90 percent of these companies started with less than a LE 1 million capital.
Of these investors, 69.3 percent were Egyptian, 17 percent Arab and the rest were foreigners.
E-registration services will reduce the time needed to register a company from three days to only one, and it will also reduce the numbers of clients clamoring to register their companies at the headquarters.
The new service is a step in improving the ease of doing business in Egypt and will attract more investors to the country. It should also improve Egypt’s rank in international reports grading business environments worldwide, for instance, in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
Egypt ranked 41 in the Doing Business Report 2008, after being 55 and 126 in previous years. The ease of registering a business is one of the elements factored into these rankings.
In the first three months, the service will be tried out by accountants, lawyers and major auditing firms. Afterwards, a survey will be conducted to make sure the service is running smoothly. -Additional reporting by Amina Ismail.