The economic relationship between Germany and Egypt has for long been strong, according to Jan Noether, CEO of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK).
He noted that this relationship is set to emerge even stronger following the current crisis presented by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Noether sat down with Daily News Egypt, and highlighted that healthcare is one of the Egyptian Government’s main strategic focuses. He noted that the government has introduced new investment laws aimed at simplifying administrative efforts, as part of efforts to speed up the licensing and pre-operation processes for suppliers and investors.
The AHK not only conveys the opportunities available in Egypt to German businesses, it also represents some of the main Global Trade Fairs in the healthcare field.
How do you see Egypt-German economic relationship in the current period? Do you think that German investments in Egypt will be paired down or will be increased?
The economic relationship between our esteemed countries has been strong and will emerge even stronger after the current crisis. It goes without saying that the current, challenging period links the concentration of business leaders towards damage control, rather than to follow-up on expansion plans.
However, during the past six months, German enterprises which have traditionally been active all over the world have learned a number of messages. First and foremost, the backbone of German industry is its small and mid-sized companies, which realised that supply chains need more diversification.
Such vision is summarised in the expression “Nearshoring”, which puts an emphasis on emerging markets close to Europe. It is safe to say that Egypt will play an important role in the due diligence processes of German enterprises.
Germany has significant experience in health field. What cooperation frameworks are there to help Egypt overcome the COVID-19 crisis?
Irrespective of COVID-19, the healthcare sector offers great potential for cooperation. German companies offer vast experiences and a wide range of products, including planning and construction of hospitals, medical technologies, laboratory equipment, to pharmaceuticals or digitisation strategies for “eHealth” and “Artificial Intelligence” (AI), to just mention a few.
Healthcare counts as one of the Egyptian Government’s main strategic focuses, and they have introduced new investment laws aimed at simplifying administrative efforts. This will speed up the licensing and pre-operation processes for suppliers and investors.
The AHK does not only convey such opportunities to German businesses, it moreover represents some of the main Global Trade Fairs in the field of healthcare. This includes ANALYTICA, which will hosted by Munich but held online from 19 to 22 October, and MEDICA which will be hosted online from Düsseldorf from 16 to 19 November.
Do you plan to amend or add new programmes to your plan in Egypt after the COVID-19 pandemic?
The AHK continuously strives for excellence, which includes innovative solutions to meet the current and future requirements of our members, and to serve the economic cooperation between Egypt and Germany.
As a direct impact of the COVID-19 challenges, we certainly learned to cope with hygiene concepts, and we took advantage of the advanced digital opportunities Egypt has to offer. I am glad to share that COVID-19 did not prevent us from fulfilling our duties.
We assist common and individual business approaches, networking and matchmaking activities, and we continuously act as a solid bridge between our esteemed countries for all economic opportunities there are.
Among a variety of medium-term initiatives, the Chamber will soon hire an expert to cover the wide field of “Water”. It is our aim to identify eligible German companies that can commence activities in the water and respective supply industries, and to be suitable to partner up with local businesses to carry out projects linked to the water industry in Egypt.
After the pandemic, what Egyptian sectors would German companies be interested in?
AHK members occupy all kinds of manufacturing and service areas. This is due to Egypt’s long lasting and highly diversified manufacturing history, which offers opportunities to German companies.
We would expect to see an increase of activities in the energy sector, particularly renewable technologies, in infrastructure development with a view towards railway and smart cities. We would also expect an increase in medical technologies and the pharmaceutical segments, alongside a medium-term increase in the petrochemical and in the packaging industries.
From your point of view, when will German tourism return to Egypt?
Germans love to travel and Egypt is a favourite destination when it comes to holidays. German citizens are fond of Egypt’s heritage, its culture, the overwhelming welcoming attitude and certainly its tourism spots.
Whilst the upcoming year may be difficult due to a slow start of tourism activities, we remain optimistic for the second half (H2) of 2021. There is no doubt that German tourists will return to Egypt as soon as there is a vaccination in place to ensure safe travelling.