INTERVIEW: Egypt is one of the largest markets for Singapore’s investments in Middle East with $1 bln, says ambassador

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 16 Dec 2021

Singapore has a strong presence in the Egyptian market with total investments of $1 billion and about $500 million in trade flow, according to the Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore Dominic Goh.

Dominic Goh

He noted that Egypt has a significant potential to become an investment and business destination for foreign investors, especially the Singaporeans.

In a short interview with Ahram Online, Goh said that Singapore is the fourth largest Asian country in the Egyptian market in terms of investments.

The interview was conducted on the sidelines of the ambassador’s visit to Tolaram'S facility in Egypt on Wednesday. The facility is specialised in noodles manufacturing with total investments of $55 million in the Egyptian market.

Tolaram is a holding company headquartered in Singapore with diversified business interests in consumer goods, fintech, infrastructure, and industrials. It is present in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America.

Ahram Online: How do you perceive Egypt’s economic scene?

Dominic Goh: When I consider the economic scene in Egypt, the first word that springs to mind is "massive." With 100 million consumers and rising, as well as a strategic location in Africa and the Middle East, Egypt is a market that simply cannot be ignored. This is why we see so many large multinational companies here, alongside their Egyptian counterparts. In the three years that I have been in Cairo, I have noticed that it is also an increasingly vibrant economic scene. The start-up scene here is buzzing and I think there are great opportunities in e-commerce, ICT, education, and even e-sports.

I am also pleased to note that the president and government have brought security and stability back to Egypt and are now focusing on economic development and improving the business climate for foreign investors.

These are some reasons why Egypt is becoming more interesting to investors from Singapore.

I am glad that the tourism sector is doing well in Egypt and we look forward to welcoming more tourists from Singapore to Egypt soon.

AO: What is your evaluation of Egypt’s economic performance during the pandemic?

DG: I think Egypt has performed admirably from an economic perspective. The numbers don’t lie. At a difficult time when countries around the world were dealing with the economic, not to mention the human, cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt remained one of the few economies in the region to keep growing. It is now on track for further growth in 2022.

As for trade between Singapore and Egypt, it has remained healthy. Even during the pandemic, in 2020, total trade exceeded $500 million. But there is always room for us to do more.

AO: What are the total Singaporean investments and business in the Egyptian market?

DG: It is a little known fact that Singapore, with total investments of more than $1 billion, is the fourth largest investor from Asia in Egypt. Egypt is also one of the largest markets for Singapore’s investments in the Middle East. We have companies in a number of sectors, including agriculture, shipping, logistics and, of course, food processing. Singaporean companies and our strong investments in Egypt have contributed to Egypt's economic development and helped create jobs for a significant number of Egyptians.

Tolaram is one of our success stories.  Through its joint venture with Kellogg’s it now sells close to half a billion packets of noodles a year across Egypt and South Africa. At that rate, it might not be farfetched to say that they’ve brought every child in Egypt a little taste of Singapore.

AO: To what extent has Covid-19 affected trade and economic flow with Egypt?

DG: My team and I have been working hard to expand economic relations between Singapore and Egypt. We’ve had some positive indications in the hospitality as well as food and beverage (F&B) sectors though I cannot go into the specifics at this point. Green technology is another area I think Singapore companies can find win-win partnerships in Egypt. Egypt is blessed with lots of sun and space – everything you need for solar energy. And Singapore has lots of expertise in water management and filtration that could be useful to Egypt because, as we all know, water is life.

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