CAIRO: In a tight race, Omar Mohanna, chairman of the Suez Cement Company, won the election and was declared the new president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt last Wednesday.
Three candidates ran for the post. However, the third contestant dropped out of the race, trimming competition between Hamed Fahmy, from Allied Corporation and Mohanna, who won by a whopping 111 votes.
“It was a very well-contested election, said James Pringle, head of the elections committee. “This year, we had the first ever election debate which gave candidates a great opportunity to put their challenges forward. It was also a good way for voters to know where their candidates stood on issues.
Mohanna will officially commence his duties as the new president during the first week of June. He follows on the footsteps of Taher Helmy, who led the Chamber for four consecutive years.
“As far as I’m concerned, all of the candidates are a success. Legitimacy and transparency reflects the true will of the electorates, Helmy said.
Helmy won the election race twice and was able to impose higher standards and implement changes, setting an example for other members to follow.
“Members have grown in number: from only around 900 to 1,400 members. We substantially increased our revenues by 60 percent and more than doubled our liquidity, Helmy pointed out.
In light of his achievements and contributions to boost US-Egyptian commercial and trade relations, Helmy was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the US Secretary of Commerce.
“This certificate is an acknowledgement of the four years of leadership in one of the most premier chambers in Egypt and one of the most effective US chambers abroad, said US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone.
But there is an achievement that Helmy is particularly proud of: establishment of the Trade-Related Assistance Center (Trac) which acts as a trade resource for local and international businesses to ensure that the private sector best utilizes bilateral cooperation agreements between Egypt and the US.
“Trac was one of my dreams years ago, and I’m very proud it became a reality. Today, I’m equally proud that the American Chamber has established Trac to serve the private sector at large . and assist a part of the global market in being fully aware of the rules of the game, he said.
Helmy emphasized the importance of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in creating a healthy environment for growth. “Corporate social responsibility is not a luxury, but a necessity for a strong, safe, healthy society, he stated. “It’s about giving back to the society; and it’s up to us, with the government, to create Egypt where everyone is willing to work and every child has something to look for.