Salon Diplomatique Egypt

Egypt: “A Sustained Move to Privatization”

Sustainability is a realization. We are trying to make up for lost time”, stated H.E. Khaled Galal Abdelhamid, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Germany, during the discussion round of the exclusive Salon Diplomatique Egypt hosted by the Egyptian Embassy and organized by the EMA. Around 20 distinguished guests with a concrete business interest in Egypt joined this concentrated in-person event. It was particularly special as it marked at the same time the first public appearance of the newly elected EMA President Heike Fölster (CFO, DB Station & Services AG).

Incentivizing private sector engagement

The Salon kicked off with a video statement from H.E. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation. “Together with our bilateral and multilateral development partners, we are investing in human capital by tapping on private sector knowledge, skills, and expertise to further advance Egypt’s development”, she stated, confirming that the Egyptian government is fully committed to creating and sustaining an enabling environment for the private sector, ensuring that the investment climate is up to the expectations of the investors.

The Minister further acknowledged the successful bilateral relations with Germany. Future cooperation is conceivable through several projects contributing to sustainable economic development. The areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy, water supply, sanitation, irrigation, migration, solid waste management, and private sector competitiveness are in the focus – topics that are also relevant for EMA member companies.

“We want to connect the right people”

Recently elected EMA President Heike Fölster addressed the future of the EMA and outlined two key priorities. First, mentioning the success of the award-winning mentoring program Ouissal, she expressed her plan to further strengthen the German-Arab network of female entrepreneurs and start-up founders, hoping to introduce the program region-wide in Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Second, she plans to increase the visibility of the EMA and with it achieve the even greater effectiveness of the organization. Raising awareness in the new German government for the Mediterranean and Middle East region will be one way to ensure this outcome. “We want to connect the right people, which has always been the strength of the EMA”, asserted Mrs. Fölster.

Geographic proximity and favorable economic conditions – key incentives for European investments

In his keynote address, H.E. Khaled Galal Abdelhamid expressed his intention for further cooperation between the Embassy and the EMA. He encouraged the participants from German businesses to increase their engagement in his home country by presenting up-to-date facts on Egypt’s infrastructure and current economic situation. Not only do foreign investors benefit from Egypt’s young population (65% of Egyptians are under 30) and proximity to European markets, but the country also offers numerous incentives for foreign investment thanks to favorable tax reforms. Besides, the construction of six new seaports in the Suez Canal’s economic zone, the new administrative capital, and a projected high-speed rail line will substantially improve the business environment in the country. His Excellency reassured the audience of an increased focus on more private sector engagement by stating thate there is already “a sustained move to privatization” in Egypt.

The numbers show that there is room for improvement, though. Even though Germany is one of the main trading partners of Egypt (five billion euros in 2020), the German private sector is not one of the leading investors in Egypt ranking only 22nd. The Ambassador expressed his hope for higher German investments in Egypt in the near future.

“Sustainability is a realization”

In the end, the audience participated actively in the Q&A round. To the question on how Germany could assist in Egypt’s education sector, the Ambassador replied: “Germany is already helping a lot. It finances the most educational institutions compared to any other country”. There are two fully accredited German universities and seven German accredited schools in Egypt. This is also beneficial for Germany as it creates a skilled labor pool to meet the growing demand for skilled labor in Germany.

When asked about Egypt’s sustainability targets, the Ambassador replied: “Sustainability is a realization”. Egypt’s sustainability efforts are, among others, highlighted by the move towards hydrogen and the emerging strategy of hydrogen exports to meet German demands. His Excellency also highlighted Egypt’s engagement in wastewater management and stated that Egypt has the biggest wastewater management plant in the world.

The event was concluded by a delicious Egyptian lunch buffet. The guests continued their discussion about potential cooperation with each other and with representatives of the Egyptian embassy.

12.15 o’clock


12.30 o’clock

Words of Welcome

by Heike Fölster
President, EMA

12.40 o’clock

“Egypt’s Growth Sectors and Opportunities for German SMEs

Words of Welcome & Keynote Address
by H.E. Khaled Galal Abdelhamid
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt

13.00 o’clock


Moderated by Clara Gruitrooy
Secretary General, EMA

13.15 o’clock

Lunch Buffet & Networking

14.00 o’clock

End of the Event

Jens Kutscher
Head of Research & Communication