General Electric (GE) is partnering with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company to connect 7 GW of power to Egypt’s national grid using GE’s gas-insulated switchgear technology.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, GE president and CEO for north east Africa Ayman Khattab said that the business environment in Egypt looks positive. There are a lot of opportunities for growth across sectors and the market is attractive to foreign investors, he believes.
In your opinion, how do you evaluate the business environment in Egypt?
Like any market, there are some ups and downs. When we think about Egypt, we always focus on a long-term vision. Therefore, we are confident in the market’s potential and we see a lot of growth opportunities across different sectors.
Overall, the business environment in Egypt looks positive. The market is attractive to foreign investors. Entrepreneurship is growing in the country, and that is a healthy sign and a strong economic boost.
Egypt has always been and is a huge market and there are so many opportunities for investment. The country has the right mix of natural and human resources, which makes it attractive for business and shows its potential to become an industrial and logistical hub for the region.
Like any market, there are some ups and downs. However, we are confident in the market’s potential.
What is the status of your investments in the Egyptian market, especially in light of the foreign currency crisis?
None of the challenges are particular to GE. They are normal day-to-day challenges that face everyone in the market. Because of our size and network, we are able to find solutions that make it easy for everyone to work together. Even if there are some delays in receiving payments, our relationship with our customers is a very long and solid one. We are confident in the market and we see the potential, which─to us─is more important than the challenges in the market.
Did you think about decreasing your investments in Egypt?
Definitely not. GE has been committed to the country for over 40 years. We stood by Egyptians during and after the revolution, and plan on continuing to do so no matter what happens. During the toughest times, our field engineers were on-ground, making sure that plans are followed through, electricity is going on the grid, and healthcare operations are running smoothly. Egypt has been and will always be a key market for GE. We are committed to the market, the government, and above all, the people.
Have the government’s actions to control imports impacted your business?
No, our work not been impacted and has been ongoing in all sectors without any disruptions.
What are the reforms that the Egyptian government to implement to get out of this crisis?
Every market has its own challenges. We are working with a number of ministries, such as electricity, transportation, investment, and international cooperation, and all of them are open to new ideas and suggestions on how to remove and minimise challenges. I’d say the one thing we need to further work on is speed and achieving closure.
However, none of these challenges are specific to GE. We see that the government is taking the necessary measures to get the country back on its feet. There is a need to focus on key infrastructural projects.
In which sectors does GE operate in Egypt? What sector is most appealing to you?
GE is a large company. We work in all the country’s key sectors with both the public and private sectors. In the energy sector, we work in oil and gas, and electricity generation in conventional and non-conventional ways, including its transmission to people at home. Our technologies also help connect people to clean water. In the transportation and aviation sectors, we help move people and goods across cities and countries. We also work in the healthcare sector.
All the sectors we work in are appealing to us─whether energy, aviation, transportation, or healthcare. However, I think the biggest focus needs to be on localisation, on building local calibres, and on knowledge transfer. This translates into manufacturing, building the right ecosystem for small- and medium-sized enterprises to support the economy, and eventually in Egypt being a hub for the region. We’re taking a number of steps to work with our partners on making localisation a priority. We recently launched the GE Egypt Digital Innovation Challenge in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and we’re asking young, talented Egyptians with a passion for software development to help us find innovative digital solutions for some of the industry’s challenges in energy, healthcare, and transportation. This is one way through which we can drive innovation in Egypt.
Does GE have a plan to help the current government in the project’s financing crisis?
Because of our relationship with all ECAs, we are able to provide our customers with competitive, diversified, comprehensive, and creative financing solutions to all our projects.