Raaouf Ghabbour, the CEO of GB Ghabbour Auto, has revealed that government officials and industry figures are working on a strategy for the revival of Egypt’s automotive industry in Egypt, with an emphasis on using local components and producing vehicles for export.
Ghabour said the Ministry of Trade and Industry had overseen the writing of the strategy, which has been submitted to the cabinet for examination.
Once put into action, it could help revive the Egyptian economy as a whole, he said, adding: “We hope it will be issued soon.”
Ghabbour made the comments at a conference for the launch of Nile University’s industrial modernisation centre, known as FACT. Also at the event were former secretary general of the Arab League Amr Moussa, and businessman Salah Diab.
Ghabbour said, despite possessing a large skilled workforce, Egypt lacks a strong automotive industry along the lines of the United States, Japan and Germany.
He reminded those attending the conference that Egypt was the first country in Africa to enter the car industry, with the creation of Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company in 1960. However, the company deteriorated due to government neglect and the lack of a supportive strategy for the sector. The company finally ended operations in 2009.Ghabbour explained that Egypt’s auto-industry was not able to compete with foreign imports without the help of trade agreements, such as the Egyptian-European Partnership Agreement, the Agadir agreement, and the FTA with Turkey.
He said one major obstacle to reviving the industry is the current foreign currency crisis.
He also said Volkswagen Global’s recent “dieselgate” scandal will negatively affect the global automobile market, with some countries retreating from their position on reducing car emissions.
Speaking at the same event, Amr Moussa, said it makes no sense for Egypt to be so far behind in the global automotive industry, bearing in mind that the national car maker was founded in the 1960s.
Regarding the Volkswagen Global scandal, he said: “We cannot consider the effect of the VW crisis… Is there one Egyptian manufacturer or importer who gave consideration to the problem of gas emissions during the manufacture or the import of cars?”