The German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) is working on promoting Egyptian products in Germany, and fostering economic relations between the two countries, said the AHK’s CEO Jan Noether.
Noether told Daily News Egypt that the relationship between Egypt and Germany is long lasting and very intensive, explaining that the chamber is doing great efforts in developing technical vocational training for youth.
“Our role is to ensure the provision of skilled employees for German companies as well as expanding the promotion of foreign trade, investments abroad, and promoting Germany as a business location,” he added.
DNE interviewed Noether about the future of trade between Egypt and Germany.
Shall we expect more business delegations’ visits among both countries?
The delegation of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), headed by Mohamed El Sewedy, will visit Germany in mid-October. They will meet their counterparts, other CEOs, as well as German representatives such as ministry of economics. Aiming to promote Egypt, the delegation targets establishing common initiatives, projects, and investments, as well as, discussing opportunities of joint startups.
Additionally, we have trade missions from Bavaria, Germany to Egypt by the end of October. We will also host 20 company representatives to meet Egyptian companies that have common interests.
How do you see Egypt-German relationship in the current period?
The relationship between Egypt and Germany is long lasting and very intensive. Egypt is a pivotal player in the region and there is a strategic cooperation and interest from the German side to cooperate with Egypt in the current period and future.
Two weeks ago, Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), met with Egyptian officials to promote business relationship between the two countries. Moreover, the Egyptian Prime Minister visited Germany in June, accompanied with six ministers, where they met with more than 600 guests, proving that Egypt is in central focus.
Furthermore, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed political and economic issues during his visit to Germany in February.
In early November 2018, Al-Sisi was in Germany to participate in the G20 Compact with Africa and met Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In February, Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, visited Egypt with a business delegation and discussed with President Al-Sisi and Egyptian ministers the paths to economic development and cooperation with Egypt.
What is the role of the chamber in promoting the Egyptian market?
We work on promoting Egyptian products in Germany through three main pillars to foster economic relations between the two countries. Since I am the official representative of the German industry in Egypt, I gather information and data from a lot of sources to be presented to the German business community. I also consult German chambers and politicians to present the true scene.
The second pillar is that we have a service-oriented unit through which agreements are signed with German trade organisations, businesses, and even with the German government to promote certain areas in Egypt to cater for these projects.
Furthermore, we have trade missions from Germany to Egypt to bring them respective associations locally and connect them with entities with common interests, besides ministries and other officials.
The third pillar is membership organisation, as we have 3,000 members, making the biggest membership chamber in Egypt and we are still growing.
Likewise, we hold 60 or 70 workshops for our members to build their capacities and skills, in addition to increasing Egypt export councils’ cooperation with Germany. Accordingly, I signed a memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with 11 different export councils. They include Chemicals and Fertilizers Export Council, Engineering Export Council of Egypt, Export Council for Building, Refractory and Metallurgy Industries, Food Export Council Egypt, Furniture Export Council, Egyptian Export Council for Handicrafts, Home Textile Export Council, Readymade Garments Export Council of Egypt, Textile Export Council, the Export Council of Medical Industries, and DE International Egypt.
What is the value of German investments in Egypt?
German investments in Egypt are worth $7.1bn, according to Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr. She pointed out that the German companies in Egypt reached 1,215 companies operating in several fields in the market, including information technology, agricultural services, manufacturing, petroleum and petrochemicals, engineering, car industries, chemicals, telecommunications, gas, and iron and steel.
The AHK assures the role of Germany as a major investment partner of Cairo in several projects. Over and above, the chamber aims to attract further German investments in Egypt particularly in sectors of tourism in light of infrastructure development and promising projects carried out by Egypt.
How do you see Egypt’s investments climate?
Egypt did its best to attract investments, but now every country is doing that so what is the advantage that Egypt can provide for investors? The country has achieved a lot through a one-stop-shop mechanism, but granting operation licenses takes time which needs to be improved to speed up the investment process. Besides, the country needs to develop research development group, invest in vocational training preparing for the international competition, and get new products for international markets.
What are the Chamber’s efforts in promoting youth skills and training programmes?
The chamber has established a department for vocational training and education in February 2019 to serve the needs of the Egyptian market. The department is meant to be the first point of contact in the hosing country Egypt.
The chamber deals with the demand from business and polices to provide the appropriate services.
Moreover, the AHK is active in many training projects ranging from the European Energy Manager programme to the improvement of technical skills in the production company. We are currently looking into ways to better assist the endeavours of various German and Egyptian companies when it comes to vocational training efforts. Such programmes are known by Germans under the name of ‘dual education,’ meaning the application of theoretical know-how gathered in vocational training schools to company shop floors, during a three-year training programme. Such dual system vocational training goes back to over 130 years in Germany.
Its fundamentals were built by company education activities who still act as a dominant force. When it comes to the development of curricula, the building of practical skills of their apprentices.
Our role is to ensure the provision of skilled employees for German companies, as well as, expanding the promotion of foreign trade, investments abroad, promoting Germany as a business location. Further, developing the Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK), AHK, and DIHK organisations as they are the most important stakeholders and cooperation partners for business and state institutions in term of quality in the field of vocational education and training export.
Shall we expect more German tourism flow into Egypt?
Egypt is among the top 10 touristic destinations preferred by Germans in 2018. German tourists arriving to Egypt in June 2017 achieved standard rates which reached 148%, compared to 2016. While their number reached 90,000 in 2017, who spent 781,000 touristic nights with an increase of 200%.
The Egyptian tourism sector continues its upward trend. From January to September 2018, the number of tourists increased by 40% compared to same period the year before. German tourists represent the largest group, followed by the British and Ukrainian tourists. Almost 928,000 Germans landed in Egypt from January to July 2018, their number is likely to easy surpass the 1 million mark in the year as a whole.
Furthermore, the German Embassy in Egypt announced that German tourism in Egypt reached its paramount during 2018, where the number of tourists was 1,707,382 visitors.