In his guest contribution, Dr. Rainer Herret, Managing Director of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce, writes of the chamber’s work and of the role of the Manager Training Programme in German-Arab business relations.
Cairo. Egypt is a partner country for the Manager Training Programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Since the programme’s launch back in 2012, more than 100 Egyptian managers have used the time spent in Germany to establish business relations with German companies. Many Egyptian company representatives sign contracts with German companies during or after the Manager Training Programme. The programme implemented by the GIZ is a lighthouse project in German-Egyptian cooperation. It provides an important contribution to driving economic development and to strengthening small and medium-sized companies in particular. Within this, the ideal win-win situation arises: Egyptian companies are able to boost their company’s productivity, quality and innovative power by acquiring modern equipment and technology, and German companies can tap into new supply sources and sales markets.
The growing scarcity of energy and associated rise in costs is leading to increased interest among factories and hotels in alternatives (solar, wind) and the use of more energy-efficient technology. Within the scope of the Renewable Energies Export Initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), a Manager Training Programme with a focus on renewable energies could be organised for this target group. It is just one of many measures in this field within the German-Egyptian cooperation. Growth industries such as the medical technology, IT, electrical engineering, and electronics sectors, and increasingly also the advanced and further training sector, offer further sales opportunities.In terms of German exports of organic chemical products, Egypt is the number one market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. When it comes to the export of machines and plants, optical products, passenger vehicles, electrical engineering, pharmaceutical products, plastics, aircraft, iron and steel as well as mineral fuels, the Egyptian sales market remains among the three most important in North Africa.
German-Arab Chamber – the partner for the MENA region
The German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce looks back on more than 60 years of fostering business relations between Germany and Egypt as well as beyond this to the rest of the MENA region. It is based in the 25 million inhabitant city of Cairo. Branch offices in Alexandria, Ismaïlia and Berlin, and 3,000 member companies make the chamber the largest business association committed to the development of German-Egyptian business cooperation. The German chamber of commerce (AHK) in Egypt is financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and affiliated with the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
Founded in 1951 as the first official bilateral foreign trade chamber in the Arab world, the German chamber of commerce in Egypt has operated under the name of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce ever since. German chambers of commerce can meanwhile also be found in Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Saudi-Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. The German chamber of commerce in Egypt has retained its name nonetheless, and also supports countries in the MENA region in which no German chamber of commerce representation currently exists, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
Services of the Chamber
While the role of the chamber as a member organisation remains unchanged, the content and scope of services has shifted significantly over the years. When Egypt converted its economic system from a state-controlled economy to a free market economy, the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce gained a new area of responsibility: the preparation of market studies and sector reports on growth segments. The large number of members proved particularly useful here, as the chamber maintains close links with businesses in the guest country as a consequence. Every year, the marketing department makes its overview of the most promising growth sectors in the Egyptian market available for download for free on the chamber’s homepage. Within the scope of an office share with Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), an e-newsletter on the latest market developments and sales opportunities is published.
As in the past, Germany remains the world’s leading venue for trade fairs and exhibitions. The large German trade fair associations have entrusted the rapidly growing chamber with the important task of visitor and exhibitor acquisition. Trade fair business remains a core area of services for the chamber, and this has now been complemented with an integrated travel agency and visa application support service.
“Made in Germany” is extremely popular among Egyptian companies. Egypt is the largest German sales market in North Africa and the most important market in the MENA region for machines and plants. Under the global services brand of DEinternational, the expert team from the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce advises SMEs in particular on successful market entry, compiles information on framework legal and investment conditions, provides support during mediation, and arranges cooperations between German and Egyptian partners.
With opening up of the Egyptian market to direct foreign investments 15 years ago, Egypt also became known as an interesting investment location for German businesses. With its 87 million consumers, sustainable development of the market is today virtually impossible without a local presence. In light of the growing competition from the Far East, a purely export business is not enough to meet customers’ needs. The chamber’s investment guide provides basic information and is to date the only German language publication of its kind.
Trainings and fair working conditions
Egypt’s rapidly growing population fuels the demand for further training and jobs. The chamber’s further training department offers a broad range of commercial courses. A subsidiary organises dual vocational training based on the German model for 2,000 Egyptian trainees.
Under the auspices of the German ambassador and in cooperation with the GIZ, Egyptian and German companies established the National Employment Pact (NEP). Since its inception, this initiative to combat unemployment has created thousands of jobs in technical professions and achieved fair working conditions mainly for young Egyptians.
The commitment of members of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce to fair working conditions underlines the deep appreciation of corporate social responsibility. The chamber is a member of the United Nations Global Compact Network, and is committed to combating corruption, ensuring fair competition, and complying with the principles of corporate governance.
The organisation and realisation of conferences, seminars and workshops in cooperation with the German chambers of commerce completes the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s services portfolio.
Dr. Rainer Herret
German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce
21, Soliman Abaza St, off Jamet El Dowal El Arabia St.
Mohandessin, Cairo, Egypt