Investing in a Revolution

Egypt is a dynamic country with a storied past and for a period of approximately 500 years was the world’s strongest power.  The Egyptians constructed one the Seven Wonders of the World when they completed the great pyramids of Giza.  For over 3,800 years these were the tallest man-made structures in the world.

Now Egypt is in a time of transition after a historic revolution that ousted an autocratic regime that ruled the country for over 30 years.  This revolution began when people took to the streets to protest poverty, rampant unemployment and government corruption.  While protests are still occurring in response to a slow pace of change by the government there are many opportunities that will present themselves in the coming weeks after the first free, democratic elections in decades take place.

These elections will provide stability in the political process and the rule of law.  If you are an investor or an entrepreneur this means you have more security in the future of your investments.  Egypt and the surrounding region will become more stable and will return to a haven for private equity and infrastructure investing.

Egyptians are looking at this as an investment and a time to liberate the forces of entrepreneurship, bringing in the informal sector, encouraging the dynamism of Egypt’s small and medium sized companies, and most importantly, launching skills training programs and a reform of the education system.  Egypt stands a very good chance of overcoming many of the issues and barriers that kept it from becoming one of the large, emerging markets along the lines of Brazil or India.

These reforms are ready and reformers are poised and prepared to embrace revitalizing the Egyptian economy. Frontier Market Solutions will be there on the ground and will be the first to deliver the most updated information about how the connection between Egyptian Businessmen and Investors can be facilitated.  Follow us and be a part of the solution.

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Bey2ollak the #Egyptian Mobile App for Traffic Conditions Reaches 1 Million Downloads

Bey2ollak is a Cross Platform crowed sourced Mobile application for people to exchange info about traffic that uses the power of crowd-sourcing, social interaction, localization as a why to help user in navigation and avoiding trafic jams in Egypt.
AC wrote about Bey2ollak before here was launched on 10/10/10 and achieved 5,000 regisrted users in one day.

The app kept growing until it reached few days ago 1 million downloads according to Egyptian newspaper Al Maser Alyoum and Be2ollak website this milestone is first for a social service app developed in the Arab world.

Waleed Mostafa one of the cofounders of Be2y2ollak told Al Maser Alyoum that he hoped that the Egyptian government would help them in using the big amount of data the app has gathered in 3 years about jam locations in Cairo and Alexandria also the locations of repeat accidents and the conditions of Egyptian roads.

 

http://arabcrunch.com/2014/04/bey2ollak-the-egyptian-mobile-app-for-traffic-conditions-reaches-1-million-downloads.html

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Interview: Chris Schroeder, author of Startup Rising

Chris Schroeder is the author of Startup Rising. He is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He co-founded HealthCentral.com and served as CEO of washingtonpost.newsweek interactive and LegiSlate.com

Listen to Chris’s interview here.

With the increase of technology flowing into and coming out of the area, the Middle East is seeing a major growth in startups. The spirit of entrepreneurship has flowed into the area.

In 2010, Chris went to speak at a startup event in Dubai. He found 2400 people from all over the region coming to build new things. He wrote an op-ed on the way home and it expanded into a full book. To research, Chris traveled through North Africa and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and all through the gulf.

Despite shifting forces and political upheavals, entrepreneurs are finding ways to persevere in the uncertain environment. While some of the challenges are different, many of the problems are the same. Some of the biggest challenges are moving the goods around the area. While it’s easy to ship from Chicago to New York, shipping between Arab nations isn’t quite the same. Curfews and checkpoints can slow things down.

There is a youth bulge in the Middle East. Now, 35% of the population is under the age of 25. Traditional government programs and traditional businesses can’t absorb that amount of people, so the individuals take their own economic future into their own hands.

Internet access and mobile penetration is increasing. Some of the countries are over 100% with cell phone penetration, and smartphones are becoming more prevalent, as well. Smartphones aren’t just phones, they have become computers.

Combined with a youthful population, the technology adoption rank is very high. While there’s a lot of content online, there isn’t a lot of specifically Arabic content out there.

startupDespite the world’s elation at the Arab Spring, shockingly little has changed politically in the Middle East; even frontliners Egypt and Tunisia continue to suffer repression, fixed elections, and bombings, while Syria descends into civil war. But in the midst of it all, a quieter revolution has begun to emerge, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region: entrepreneurship. As a seasoned angel investor in emerging markets, Christopher Schroeder was curious but skeptical about the future of investing in the Arab world.

Traveling to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul, and even Damascus, he saw thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid entrepreneurs, all willing to face cultural, legal, and societal impediments inherent to their worlds. Equally important, he saw major private equity firms, venture capitalists, and tech companies like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, and LivingSocial making significant bets, despite the uncertainty in the region. Here, he marries his own observations with the predictions of these tech giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East—one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and progress.

http://biztelevision.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/interview-chris-schroeder-author-of-startup-rising/

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UAE to continue political, economic support to #Egypt after poll -report

Cairo – The United Arab Emirates will continue its political and economic support for Egypt after a presidential election next week that is expected to be won by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s state news agency reported on Saturday.

Wealthy oil-producing Gulf Arab states including the UAE showered billions of dollars in cash and petroleum products on Egypt after Sisi ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.

More such aid will be vital for any new president as he tries to rescue the economy battered by three years of political turmoil since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Sisi has said that, if he won the election, he would rely on foreign investment and continued Gulf aid to finance mega-projects that he has only vaguely outlined during his campaign.

The UAE official in charge of aid to Egypt, State Minister Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, said the UAE regarded the May 26-27 vote a “a new starting point”.

“We will continue to provide political and economic support,” Jaber said in comments published by Egyptian state news agency MENA.

Egypt’s struggling economy has yet to recover from the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak in 2011. Intermittent violence and political instability over the past three years have scared off foreign tourists and investors.

Sluggish growth has failed to alleviate rampant unemployment and the government is under pressure to cut energy and food subsidies in order to ease a ballooning deficit that reached around 14 percent of GDP last fiscal year.

The UAE has welcomed Sisi’s rise and the army’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which it says poses a security threat and has banned on its own turf.

Compared to other major donors Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the UAE has taken a more hands-on approach to its support to Cairo.

Over the past year, Jaber has helped to coordinate Emirati projects in Egypt including the construction of wheat silos, clinics, schools, and housing units.

https://www.arabfinance.com/News/newsdetails.aspx?Id=273721

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#Egypt sees 22% year on year drop in April tourist numbers

Cairo – Egypt saw a 22 % drop in tourist numbers in April 2014 compared to the same month of last year, according to a recent report issued by the tourism ministry.

A total of 859,889 foreign tourists came to Egypt in April of this year, spending 7.6 million nights in the country. In April 2013, 1,101,582 million visitors travelled to the country, spending 11 million nights.

According to the report, the largest proportion of tourists in April 2014 came from Europe – a total of 681,622 visitors, compared with 845,149 European visitors in April 2013.

The number of Arab tourists decreased by 34.3 % year-on-year to register 100,484.

Tourists from Saudi Arabia, however, increased by 17.4 % this year to reach 19,813.

Last week, the ministry announced the first ferry service linking Hurghada with Dhaba in Saudi Arabia would begin operating in June.

The new line aims to encourage Saudi tourists to visit Egypt, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said.

EgyptAir has also launched its first direct flights between the Egyptian seaside town of Hurghada and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The total number of tourists visiting Egypt in the first four months of 2014 reached 2.8 million, a 2.75 percent decline from the same period last year, the report added.

https://www.arabfinance.com/News/newsdetails.aspx?Id=273722

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#Egypt has limited scope for boosting purchases of local wheat

Cairo – Egypt aims to buy about half of its domestic wheat harvest this year at 4.4 million tonnes and is unlikely ever to get much more from farmers, who need to reserve the rest for seed and to feed their families.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is striving to boost self-sufficiency and reduce its LE 32 bln (USD 4.6 bln) food import bill.

But at most, the government will be able to increase domestic supply by around 1 million tonnes a year through improving storage and transportation.

Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi, whose ministry is in charge of local wheat procurement, said this week the government had purchased 2.75 million tonnes to date in the harvest season that began in mid-April, on track to meet its target.

The harvest is now in full swing in northern parts of the breadbasket region of the Nile Delta and nearly finished in fields further south.

Hanafi said his ministry was pushing ahead with the plan to buy 4.4 million tonnes of domestic wheat this year. The target consistent with the target set, but not met, last year by the government of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

The government says that improvements to the outdated storage system and the addition of new silos could cut down on the more than 1 million tonnes lost yearly due to storage and transportation problems.

Yields for the Egyptian wheat crop are already among the highest in the world. Unlike fellow wheat producers such as Australia with inconsistent production, the Egyptian crop is reliable.

Many farmers in rural agricultural areas in the verdant Nile Delta region are willing to sell only about half of their harvest to the government.

Men who eke out a subsistence living on their land, using mostly the technology that their fathers and grandfathers did, say they are already selling the maximum amount they can.

Farmers such as Ahmed Sagheer say, given the needs of his own family, he cannot sell more wheat unless their small plots produce much more.

Sagheer, from a small village in Sharqiya province in the heart of the Egypt’s breadbasket north of Cairo, complains of water shortages and expensive fertilizer and says he does not expect the yield on his roughly one acre of land to increase dramatically soon.

“We don’t have a good supply of water, fertilizer is too expensive, and sometimes insects attack our crops,” he said.

Traders surveyed in a Reuters poll ahead of the harvest put the year’s crop at around 7 million tonnes, in line with last year’s total.

Private traders’ estimates for the local crop are consistently below government estimates, which also do not vary significantly from year to year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects Egypt’s production to reach 8.95 million tonnes this year, up only 300,000 tonnes from last year.

Any efforts to expand wheat production onto uncultivated land are hampered by soaring population growth and illegal building on farmland, which officials say has increased since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

“LIVING DAY TO DAY”

The government has steadily increased the fixed price it pays for local wheat in recent years. This year it raised the fixed price from 420 Egyptian pounds ($58.88) per ardeb (150 kg) from 400 pounds, hoping to encourage farmers to sell to the government.

The local price exceeds the price Egypt pays in the international market by more than $100 per tonne.

But 59-year-old farmer Hussein Sobhi Hussein, standing by his water buffalo near his already harvested field, said the Egyptian pound “buys less than it used to”, suggesting that it was a safer bet to keep a large part of his crop for his family rather than taking cash for it.

Another farmer from al-Baheira province, in the northernmost part of the Delta, where the harvest is currently in full swing, explained why he cannot afford to give up more of his crop.

“I have only one feddan [1.038 acres]. I have to plant it half with wheat because the other half is alfalfa for my livestock to eat,” said Mohamed Seshar, a father of three who farms part of his late father’s land, having split it with his brothers.

“Then I need to keep half of my wheat harvest for my family to eat,” he said. “I’m living day to day,” he added.

“I’ll store half at home and sell the rest because of my family’s needs,” said Walid Ali, 25, a father of three who stood sweating in the midday heat. He and his young wife worked with other family members to put stalks of wheat that they had cut by hand into a threshing machine, which would have been replaced by a combine machine in a more mechanised farm.

“I’d like to sell more but for now it is not possible,” Ali said as he turned to get back to work.

https://www.arabfinance.com/News/newsdetails.aspx?Id=273742

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UAE to continue political, economic support to #Egypt after poll – report

CAIRO, May 24 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates will continue its political and economic support for Egypt after a presidential election next week that is expected to be won by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt‘s state news agency reported on Saturday.

Wealthy oil-producing Gulf Arab states including the UAE showered billions of dollars in cash and petroleum products on Egypt after Sisi ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.

More such aid will be vital for any new president as he tries to rescue the economy battered by three years of political turmoil since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Sisi has said that, if he won the election, he would rely on foreign investment and continued Gulf aid to finance mega-projects that he has only vaguely outlined during his campaign.

The UAE official in charge of aid to Egypt, State Minister Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, said the UAE regarded the May 26-27 vote a “a new starting point”.

“We will continue to provide political and economic support,” Jaber said in comments published by Egyptian state news agency MENA.

Egypt‘s struggling economy has yet to recover from the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak in 2011. Intermittent violence and political instability over the past three years have scared off foreign tourists and investors.

Sluggish growth has failed to alleviate rampant unemployment and the government is under pressure to cut energy and food subsidies in order to ease a ballooning deficit that reached around 14 percent of GDP last fiscal year.

The UAE has welcomed Sisi’s rise and the army’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which it says poses a security threat and has banned on its own turf.

Compared to other major donors Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the UAE has taken a more hands-on approach to its support to Cairo.

Over the past year, Jaber has helped to coordinate Emirati projects in Egypt including the construction of wheat silos, clinics, schools, and housing units. (Reporting By Maggie Fick; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=4e9c3b30-3a04-4b26-9c79-0583ae130aa1

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Agriculture Entrepreneurship Research Intern

At MC Egypt we believe that, given access to capital (human and financial), entrepreneurs will create profitable businesses providing solutions to social problems. As a for-profit subsidiary of Mercy Corps, MC Egypt encourages and grows businesses that have specific social and pro-poor benefits for Egyptians. We aim to increase income and employment, and improve services such as healthcare, education, and energy independence. To provide these resources, MC Egypt combines Mercy Corps’ non-profit development expertise with an approach more familiar to those of the venture capital and private equity world. Our activities fall into three categories: identify, invest, impact.

INTERNSHIP TITLE: AgricultureEntrepreneurship Research Intern
INTERN WORKSITE LOCATION: Cairo
DATES OF INTERNSHIP: ASAP
LENGTH OF INTERNSHIP: 3 Months
INTERNSHIP SUPERVISOR: Benjamin Sellé
FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR THE INTERNSHIP: The intern will receive a transportation allowance.
QUALIFICATIONS INCLUDE:

0-1 Years of Experience
Applicants should be graduates although third and fourth year university students may apply if strong interest and potential can be shown.
Extra-curricular activities will be considered.
Applicants most likely to be considered would hold or are working towards a bachelor degree in Business Administration, Economics or similar research-linked field.
Must have strong research, writing, and interaction (‘people’) skills.
Proficiency in academic and business written and spoken English is a must for the report writing component.
MC EGYPT RESPONSIBILITIES:

For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive training and guidance on business plan writing, market research, gap analysis and report writing. According to the intern’s skills and interest and the need, the intern might be involved in event preparation and mentorship of entrepreneurs.
MC Egypt is a leading organization in Egypt in the field of entrepreneurship; the intern will thus have access to a large network of organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders.

INTERN RESPONSIBILITIES:

Research and develop industry specific reports that will be made available for entrepreneurs interested in the agriculture and food sector and will be published on MC Egypt’s website. The research might request some traveling outside of Cairo for field research, but this will be very occasional and if the security conditions allows for it and all affiliated expenses would be covered by MC Egypt.
Help organize and attend MC Egypt events.
Assist entrepreneurs on developing their business plans, including financial projections

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Business Plan writing, Business Report Writing, Business Research Skills, Networking Skills, Event Planning Skills

 

DELIVERABLES: The intern is expected to deliver a minimum of two research reports at the end of the internship. Other deliverables will be decided on during the internship.

 

REPRESENTATION: MC Egypt interns and volunteers represent the agency during work hours and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC Egypt’s policies, procedures, and values at all times

http://ngo-jobs.net/blog/agriculture-entrepreneurship-research-intern/

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