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Mike CAMUS
Head of International Desk Middle East, Turkey

Support by the
Crédit Agricole group

Last updated: September 2021

Crédit Agricole Group's International Desk in the Middle East mainly provides support to corporate clients in Egypt for the execution of their transactions on site, including opening an account, financing, market guarantee issues, information, banking advice and identity information (mainly for listed companies). 

International Desk relies on Crédit Agricole Egypt, which offers the range of services of a universal bank.  Created in 2006 by successive mergers, Crédit Agricole Egypt is today the only French bank present in Egypt.

Link to the Credit Agricole Egypt website

Positioning and organisation on the corporate market:  Crédit Agricole Egypt (CAE) is a universal bank serving corporate, SMEs and multinational clients, in collaboration with the business lines and specialised activities of the Crédit Agricole Group.

Crédit Agricole Egypt in figures:

  • 356,000 customers
  • 78 agencies
  • 2,300 employees

Data 2020 - Source: Crédit Agricole Group Registration Document

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Means of payment

With Egypt

Company cheque

Bank cheque

SWIFT transfer

Documentary remittance

Documentary credit

Usage

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Weak

Common

Common

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Advice from the
international desk

General Information

Egypt, whose economy is open to foreign investors, is a leading member of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

In most areas of investment, there is no legal difference between foreign and domestic investors, and there are no restrictions on full foreign ownership of Egyptian companies.

With the new investment law of 2017, Egypt is showing its commitment to creating more favourable conditions for local and foreign investment, including the provision of guarantees and incentives.

There are no restrictions on the convertibility of Egyptian currency into another free currency, provided this is done through authorised legal entities, including banks.

Outgoing transfer of foreign currency is also permitted upon presentation of the required documents and through authorised legal entities. In addition, the Central Bank of Egypt has instructed licensed banks to facilitate the repatriation of dividends belonging to foreign shareholders.

To start up in Egypt, having an Egyptian partner (an agent, distributor or industrial partner in a joint venture) can be very useful thanks to their market knowledge and assistance in dealing with local administrations.

In addition, it is recommended to rely on a local firm to start up a company (advice, administrative procedures, taxation,...). The forms of companies commonly used are classic: Limited Liability Company (SARL), Joint Stock Company (SA), General Partnership (Société en Nom Collectif), Limited Partnership (Société en Commandite). The acquisition of a majority stake in the capital of a local company is in principle permitted (except in a few sectors of activity). 

It should be noted that the Real Estate Law No. 15 of 1963 explicitly prohibits the ownership of agricultural land by foreign natural or legal persons. The definition of "agricultural land" covers land in the Nile Valley, the Delta and the oases.

The Egyptian government, to support businesses and stem the effects of the health crisis, has embarked on an economic support plan described in a dedicated fact sheet.

Means of Payment & Banking Specificities

The country has adopted a series of reforms since 2016, including a floating exchange rate regime. The Egyptian pound depreciated sharply to stabilise around 16EGP/USD. Liquidity has since improved and the Central Bank (CBE) has been able to replenish foreign exchange reserves to nearly USD 44 billion, or about 8 months of imports at the end of June 2019 (source CBE). Since the Covid-19 crisis and its economic downturn, Egypt has called on the IMF and the GCC to support the country through this critical period. There is no doubt that international backers will support Egypt financially given the deep structural reforms already undertaken.

The payment methods usually used internationally are available.  When it comes to imports, however, the documentary constraints common in specific procedures must be taken into account (legalisation, rules of origin, certification, etc.) and the regulations that may restrict the import of certain products.

 

Note : SBLC are only authorized for the import of essential products (CBE regulations).

Source: MOCI – Coface – Business France – CAE – CASA – FMI – CBE

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