Often dubbed the mother of the world, Egypt sits at the heart of Africa pulsating with opportunity and acting as a true testimony to the importance of resilience during troubling times.
Under the guardianship of President Abdel Fatah el Sisi, the country is now home to many of the MENA regions most lucrative startups, and has been named as Africa's number one destination for investment in 2017. In the last couple of years in particular, the country has enticed investments from some of the world's most renowned businesses, who have benefited from the vast potential Egypt has to offer.
In addition to Egypt's unique geographical location, part of the country's economic expansion plan has lead to the signing of several free trade agreements which will develop its export sector across the globe. The modification of one of the bedrocks of our economy has restored faith in our tourism sector, which has in turn lead to a 48% increase in the flow of visitors in the last year alone. This number is set to increase with the government's plan to make Egypt a hub for religious tourism, an opinion supported by Pope Francis during his last visit to Egypt. This, coupled with the discovery of gargantuan natural gas reserves and the fortification of our renewable energy sector, creates a solid foundation which will undoubtedly be built upon to create a more formidable Egypt.
To enable these developments, the country itself is undergoing significant restructuring, mainly focused at decongesting the capital. Roads and tunnels are being built to facilitate travel, transportation systems are being upgraded, and a new capital is being erected to accommodate the country's growing population.
With these changes in mind, we have written this book to highlight the often overlooked potential of investing in Egypt, and to outline the systems which govern these opportunities.
As our country continues to develop, it becomes all the more important to communicate the myriad changes that our government is making to support these developments regularly, particularly to those who are not familiar with our systems of governance.
First and foremost however, I would like to thank our firm's Trade and Investment team who have spent countless hours researching, writing and editing this book - without each of your individual contributions, we would not have been able to create such a concise and informative publication.
I would also like to thank GAFI and the Ministry of Investment for providing us with the information needed to create this book, and for supporting us throughout this process.
New Investment Law No 72/2017 Ñ
On the 31st of May 2017, a new law was introduced to govern domestic and foreign investment projects, namely Law No 72/2017.
The New Investment Law replaces the Investment Guarantees and Incentives Law No 8 for 1997 and aims to serve as an incentive for all potential investors by facilitating the process of investing in Egypt. It should be noted however, that article 2 of the new law emphasizes that it does not override tax privileges, exemptions or safeguards granted to companies created before this law, until their term expires.
The new law encourages fair competition, consideration of social and environmental issues, transparency, stability and, most importantly, the facilitation of investment procedures. It also introduces three forms of incentives:
Applicability: All investment projects, except for those set up in free zones and those issued a certificate by the Authority's Chief Executive Office
- For the first five years of registration, the documents, loan agreements and pledge contracts of such companies are exempt from stamp duty tax and notary public fees
- Projects are exempt from land registration fees
- Projects can enjoy a unified flat customs duty rate of 2% on all machines and equipment needed for establishing the project
Applicability: Companies that fit into either sector (A) or (B) (as determined by the relevant Minister) and association projects issued a certificate by the Authority's Chief Executive Officer and satisfy the following conditions:
- Be incorporated (within a maximum of three years) to conduct the investment project
- Keep regular accounting books
Investment projects established after this Law enters into force and according to the investment map shall be granted an investment incentive in the form of a deduction on taxable net profits, in the following manner:
- 50% deduction on the investment costs of projects set up in underdeveloped geographic locations (Sector (A) projects)
- 30 % deduction on investment costs for projects in Sector (B) (laborintensive projects, small and medium enterprises, renewable energy projects, national and strategic projects, tourism projects, electricity generation and distribution projects, projects that export their production outside of Egypt, automotive projects, certain chemical industries, certain pharmaceutical industries, food and agricultural projects and, finally, the engineering, textile and leather industries).
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