Tamer Abul Ghar, Country Manager of Philips-Egypt, describes to Daily News Egypt his company’s contributions to the New Suez Canal and its development projects, as well as the potential investment opportunities it is seizing in the Egyptian market.
What are the national projects that Philips contributes to?
We are optimistic about the future of the Egyptian economy. The Suez Canal Axis Development project is a remarkable indicator that Egypt is on the right track to economic growth and development. After operating for more than 80 years in the local market, Egypt remains a key strategic country for Philips as we continue to witness significant growth opportunities through strategic partnerships. Philips is always keen on cooperating with the Egyptian government and key players in the local market. For example, we plan to introduce our latest LED lighting innovations which will provide completely new opportunities to policy makers and the government to enhance city beautification while also contributing to energy saving. Examples of some of the LED lighting work undertaken in 2014 include projects like the Baron Palace, Hibis Temple in the New Valley governorate and El-Galaa Bridge, and we look forward to further cooperation with the Egyptian government.
How do you view the investment opportunities in the Egyptian market?
Egypt is one of the key markets for Philips in the region. Our strategy is based on two main pillars: to continue our investment to grow our sales and service organisations, and to closely study any potential opportunities based on local relevance. Egypt is an attractive market for investors taking into consideration its favourable demographics, large population, strong industrial base, current and emerging trading partners and strong international connectivity. All these factors combined are indicative of the country’s potential growth opportunities and we have a very positive outlook for the Egyptian market. Driven by our belief in the strength of the Egyptian economy, Philips partnered with Al-Araby to launch the first joint local production line to manufacture steam irons for the Egyptian market earlier this year.
On the global level, Philips is focusing on cutting-edge innovations. The ‘Internet of Things’ has become central to how we innovate at Philips – and how we listen to, engage with and take inspiration from our consumers. Our cloud-enabled consumer devices not only serve people’s needs but react to them, empowering people to control their lives in ways that were once impossible. Our approach is to change how people use the internet so it becomes a meaningful tool of personalised solutions to improve their lives. With this in mind, there are significant opportunities to foster innovation in the Egyptian market.
What is Philips’ investment volume in Egypt, and what are your plans to increase them?
Egypt is a dynamic market for Philips. We do not only invest in production and sales, but also in people, who are the company’s greatest asset. We have ambitious plans for the local market in healthcare, lighting and consumer lifestyle sectors. In healthcare, we aim to drive more focus on non-communicable diseases to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. In addition, the rising incidence of cardio-vascular diseases (CVD) in Egypt is a key focus area for Philips Egypt. According to a report by the World Health Organization, CVD was responsible for 39% of the total deaths across Egypt in 2011. As a world leader in healthcare technology, Philips is committed to developing an actionable policy that will ease the burden of cardio-vascular diseases across Egypt. We signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to become a sponsor of the Stent For Life Initiative (SFL) in Egypt, in order to raise awareness and highlight innovations to address cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), specifically coronary heart disease. Philips has also signed another MoU with the Children’s Cancer Hospital “57357” to bring attention to the rising incidence of cancer in Egypt by supporting the “Awareness against Cancer” initiative to encourage early detection.
In addition to healthcare solutions, we aim to enhance our existing market leadership in LED lamps, luminaires and lighting systems and services. As a global industry leader in lighting serving a growing market estimated to exceed €60bn, we closely monitor this active market in order to capitalise on the fundamental changes taking place, where value is shifting from individual products to systems and services. Philips’ mission in Egypt is to support the government in terms of changing and improving the utilisation of energy efficiency through lighting systems and controls. As a company, Philips is improving people’s lives and contributing to a more sustainable environment through the use of our lighting technology. Our success in this vision has led to significant lighting revitalisation programmes in many countries. As part of that, I am committed to providing strong leadership through the empowerment of the management team throughout Africa at large, and the Egyptian market in specific.
With a focus on innovation and localisation, Philips’ consumer lifestyle portfolio is helping meet Egyptians’ desire for healthier cooking as well as beauty and grooming solutions by introducing new products to meet the aspirations and needs of the rising middle class in Egypt. From “Air Fryers” to “energy efficient irons”, Philips continues to focus on the health and well-being of the Egyptian consumer.
What are the local challenges that Philips faces in Egypt?
Thanks to our long presence in the Egyptian market, Philips has a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and needs of the market. As a foreign investor operating in Egypt, Philips is aware of the key challenges facing Egypt today, such as the need for more widespread energy-efficient lighting and the revitalisation of the healthcare infrastructure.
At Philips, we aim to improve access to more developed healthcare services by providing support for non-communicable diseases and offering training and education of healthcare workers.
To help ease the energy crisis in Egypt, Philips has introduced our latest LED and solar lighting innovations across the country. As the number one LED lighting company in the world, Philips is providing technology and solutions to bring in safety, security, and city beautification, while reducing energy consumption through our advanced LED solutions. This consequently helps reduce energy bills for consumers and businesses, supporting green jobs and enterprises and boosting economies while, at the same time, combating climate change.
What are the most attractive sectors for investment in Egypt, from your point of view?
Egypt is a promising market with significant growth potential across multiple sectors. Its strategic location, sizeable workforce and government policies to encourage investors are all key factors to open new horizons for investors in the local market. At Philips, we view the sectors in which we operate – lighting, healthcare and consumer lifestyle – as our primary sectors for investment.