Following their participation in the ‘Invest in Egypt’ conference, which took place in Abu Dhabi last week, Daily News Egypt sat with Waleed Abdel Fattah, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of leading construction consulting firm, the US-headquartered Hill International.
How do you view the construction market in Egypt?
The construction market in Egypt is quite different to other international markets. The construction market is always busy and there is work at all times. Currently, the market is extremely busy due to the huge development projects planned by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, which includes the New Suez Canal, the New Alamain City and the Suez Canal Development Project amongst others.
Where does Egypt stand, compared to the Middle East, in the construction sector?
Egypt’s construction sector is booming right now and is superseding those in the Middle East due to the development plans, including the infrastructure development across the country and the new cities being planned.
What is the Egyptian market’s major challenge in regards to construction?
The major challenge is satisfying the current market demand with the advanced equipment and skilled labour.
Are you considering expanding your activities in Egypt? What are the current projects?
Hill International already poses its share of the market in Project Management and we are currently expanding to cover other sectors not yet covered in the Egyptian Market. Our current projects include the Grand Egyptian Museum, the renovation of Cairo Airport – Terminal 2, the New National Cancer Institute, Al Ahly Club Branch in Sheikh Zayed City, Nile Ritz Carlton Project, SECON Nile Towers Project, Credit Agricole Headquarters, ABC Bank Headquarters, the Tahrir Complex Project, and Porto Sokhna Project.
Are you planning to enter into new projects in Egypt?
Indeed, we are pursuing new opportunities in Egypt. The market is a big and important market that we are keen on increasing our market share in.
How do you evaluate the government’s economic reform measures?
The government expenditure in infrastructure is one of the means leading to major changes in the country that should include economic reform measures that would lead to reducing the challenges against investors.
What are the current major challenges facing foreign investors? How can the government resolve that?
Foreign investors have been invited to invest in Egypt and the Egyptian government has opened the door with minimum constraints. Unlike a lot of other countries, investing in Egypt has been a bigger problem due to the changes taking places in the laws and regulations; however, the government is currently working on a number of studies that would enable them to set the final guidelines for taxes and other investor related aspects.
Why did you participate in the “Invest in Egypt” conference that took place in Abu Dhabi in late November?
To see the new investment opportunities being presented on the table and evaluate our priorities accordingly, in addition to meeting new investors interested in the market and leading them and maybe give them new ideas and solutions.