By Mohamed Alaa El-Din
Smart Village is negotiating with over 15 companies for renting and buying administrative areas and offices in the Village, Adel Danesh, the company’s CEO said in his interview with Daily News Egypt.
Danesh added that the Smart Village investments volume amounts to more than EGP 5bn, while the administrative areas inside the Village amount to more than 500,000 square metres. The Smart Village is studying expanding in Tunisia.
How do you see the Egyptian market in the current period? And what advantages do we have to attract investments?
The Egyptian market is suffering from two problems. One is general, and most countries of the world suffer from: unemployment, especially amongst youth. However, our percentages are a little higher in comparison to other countries. In order to solve this problem, domestic production of the country should be increased. There are two ways to solve this problem. First one is the classic way of which coordinating visits with friendly countries took place and was followed by the signing of cooperation treaties in order to increase bilateral trade rates. The other way Egypt tries to convince the world of is that Egypt is not just a market of 90 million person, but a market of more the 1.6 billion people, due to free trade agreements linking Egypt to a lot of countries and regional organisations.
What are the chances we have in attracting foreign investments to the communications and IT sector?
In the past, Egypt was called the Silk Road, because the silk trade that used to come from China to the different African and Arab regions was passing through it. In the present, Egypt is still a path, but for data and technology, which we should utilise during the next period. More than 17 internet cables pass through Egypt; they should be invested in a good way, and value-added services possessed exclusively by Egypt should be created
What do we miss in utilising the advantages we have in order to achieve growth?
We miss only the security stability; the trained labour is available, as well as the investment opportunities. The investment environment also should be improved.
How can we benefit from the youth in IT market in a way that helps in growing the sector?
There is a simple example India applied during the last period, which helped in making a leap in their technological progress. They launched an initiative to adopt 10,000 start-ups through providing the basics individuals need to launch companies. They were put in huge storage rooms with chairs according to number of workers, without separating each company from the other, in order to give them the experience of working in one team and creating entrepreneurship atmosphere, and were provided by internet connection with speed of 10 mega. They were also exempted from the routine and bureaucratic steps of launching companies like social insurances, taxes and other governmental issues. We can use this experiment and apply it through an initiative to adopt 500 start-ups in Egypt.
What is the volume of Smart Village investments?
Our investments exceed EGP 5bn; not all the buildings are ours, but we own some and rent some. Some other lands were sold. Areas of the offices inside Smart Village amount to 500,000sqm.
How many buildings are under construction?
The work on a suitable building is ongoing for a telecommunication company with a space of 5,000 metres for each floor, and the building is composed of six floors in addition to three ground floors. Another building is for E-finance, with a space of 2,000 metres for each floor, and the building will be composed of four floors, in addition to a building for Al-Moltaka, a Saudi company specialised in real estate, with a space of 6,000 metres.
What are the basics used to determine prices of offices or lands in Smart Village?
Prices differ according to rates of supply and demand, and in comparison with similar areas on the other side of the desert road, as well as similar administrative places in Al-Tes’een Street in the Fifth Settlement.
Were you affected by the increase in electricity prices and other facilities?
No, we were not affected, as contracts stated that customers will have to deal with any increases that might occur to services prices.
Are you taking part in plans to establish technological areas?
The plan currently set is the ministry’s responsibility, and if it needs our help we will be ready. Until now, we don’t have a role in putting the plan except for the technological area in Damietta where we own 100 acres, which is the ministry’s share to increase capital of Smart Village Company. We are allowed to build on 10% of the total area for the time being.
We will work on creating a new community in the technological area in Damietta, as it will not only be a technological area, but it will also contain areas dedicated for exhibits in a developed way in order to utilise industries Damietta is famous for, like wood, furniture and sweets. Service areas, buildings and hotels will be established as well.
A final design for the area is set, and the implementation will begin soon.
What about your expansions the coming period?
Currently, we are offering our administrative advice and experience to set up a Smart Village in Jordan, similar to the one in Egypt. In Africa, we are engaging through a consortium with a real estate company in Uganda. We are also considering expanding in Tunisia through presenting the Egyptian experience in establishing and administrating a Smart Village.
Are there any negotiations with new customers to buy or lease administrative buildings in Smart Village?
The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport is considered the newest entrant to the smart village community, as it’s currently establishing its own building in the village, which will be divided to two faculties, one for architecture and one for administration. There are negotiations with more than 15 companies that wish to acquire administrative offices and buildings in Smart Village.