Country Profile Egypt

Number of Dutch companies active: 15 Dutch companies and over 100 joint-ventures
Population: 113 million (2023)
Area: 1,001,450 km² (24 times the size of the Netherlands)
GDP growth: 4.2% (2023)
Head of state: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

NABC and Egypt

The NABC is highly active in the organisation of several activities involving Egypt, including incoming/outgoing trade missions from/to Egypt and roundtable discussions. In March 2023, the NABC organised an outgoing Waste Processing & Circular Economy Mission to Egypt.

Furthermore, the NABC was involved in the establishment of a Netherlands Pavilion at the Wadi Expo in Luxor in May 2023 (including follow-up field visits), and at the Sahara Expo in Cairo in September 2022. 

In collaboration with the Standard Chartered Bank, VNO-NCW, and Invest International, the NABC held its first Africa Expert Breakfast round table on January 7th, 2023, regarding Egypt’s stabilisation efforts and what results can be expected in 2023. Since then, the Standard Chartered Bank has obtained a new license to open a branch operating in Egypt in November 2023 to contribute to the Egyptian Economy.  

The NABC further welcomed an Egyptian delegation consisting of the Horticultural Export Improvement Association’s (HEIA) members during Africa Works! 2022. The delegation attended the conference with workshops focusing on climate resilient seeds and crop protection and subsequently participated in several field visits to Dutch companies active in soft fruits, sweet potatoes, and packaging processing. 

In 2021, NABC hosted an Inspiration, Knowledge-Sharing and Matchmaking visit to Egypt. NABC’s Managing Director Rosmarijn Fens led a group of 12 Dutch companies who delved into the climate-resilient agricultural opportunities of Egypt. During the visit, an MoU was signed with the Egyptian African Businessmen’s Association.  

In September 2019, Rosmarijn Fens and Peter de Ruiter visited Egypt as a follow-up on the participation of a high-level delegation headed by the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) in the Africa Works! 2019 conference in Rotterdam. EBA, one of the oldest business associations in Egypt with currently 550 members, and NABC signed a MoU during Africa Works! 2019 with the promise to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, fitting well in the Dutch ‘Africa Strategy’ that was launched in November 2019. 

Challenges and opportunities

Water and agriculture

Egypt struggles with desertification, raw sewage, limited freshwater resources, polluted Nile water, and a rapid population growth. The Nile delta and the narrow valley of the Nile make up only 5.5 % of Egypt but houses over 95% of its people, 30-40% of its agricultural production and 50% of its industrial production. Agriculture is a major component in the Egyptian economy, contributing to 14.5% of the country’s GDP and accounting for 28% of all jobs and 55% of employment in upper Egypt. Egypt’s agriculture is dominated by small farms using traditional practices that do not meet international standards. 

About 95% of Egypt is desert and it suffers from a shortage of freshwater resources. Renewable water resources are fully exploited while non-renewable water resources are quickly consumed. There is an increased water supply demand from all sectors: industrial, agricultural and domestic. 

About 80% of the Nile water available for Egypt is used for agricultural production. That share will decrease as upstream countries are using and claiming more water and polluting river water with detrimental effects for downstream Egypt. Nile water supply is expected to decrease with about 35% in the next 20 years. Due to the strong population growth, it will have devastating effects on Egypt’s agriculture and hence on food security. The agricultural sector therefore faces a huge challenge to manage its adequately water resources to allow it to maintain the current level of food production and security. Besides this pressure on the Nile water supply in Egypt, climate change is increasingly becoming a threat as it leads to unpredictable growth seasons. 

Opportunities can be found in drinking water treatment technologies, climate smart agriculture (remote sensing/geo data), irrigation, water management, soil improvement, saline farming, circular water cycles, reducing postharvest losses, improving the agriculture value chain, circular agriculture etc.. 


The operation of the giant Zohr gas field has begun making Egypt’s industrialisation plans a reality. Together with a strong focus on renewable energy, the gas field has turned the country’s power supply from shortage to surplus – making Egypt an energy exporter. The gas field produced 2.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day in 2022/2023, despite decreasing from 2.7 a year earlier. Egypt aims to develop further renewable energy capacities to ensure 42% renewable energy consumption by 2035. Large projects are currently being implemented in hydro, solar, and wind energy, such as the Benban Solar Park (one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic parks, and the largest in Africa). The Benban Solar Park integrates 34 solar power plants, each with a capacity of 50 megawatts– reducing carbon emissions by two million tonnes per year. 

In energy, the Netherlands and Egypt can cooperate in the development of Egypt as an energy hub, in energy transport and capacity building.

Investment climate

In December 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 46-month plan for Egypt within the Extended Fund Facility, amounting to $3 billion. The IMF’s financial assistance was reliant on the Egyptian Government agreeing to a series of structural changes. These encompassed adopting a more adaptable exchange rate, enforcing the State Ownership Policy to promote privatisation in Egypt’s economy, and removing import constraints imposed in the spring of 2022. Egypt had previously implemented challenging macroeconomic reforms as part of a three-year, $12 billion IMF initiative in November 2016. A series of devaluations to the Egyptian pound occurred in March 2022, October 2022, and January 2023. Nonetheless, the devaluations are expected to lead to increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) over the long term, underlined by the Egyptian government’s implementation of the associated economic reform package and a flexible exchange rate. 

Given the aforementioned devaluations, Egypt’s inflation rate increased to a record-high rate of 38% in September 2023, in comparison to 25.8% in January 2023 – partnered by a lack of foreign currency. Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was 4.20% in 2023 (vs. 6.17% in 2022). Nonetheless, its GDP presents $398.4 billion, with a $3,770 GDP per capita. The population of Egypt reached 112 million in 2023, representing a population growth is 1.56%, and is expected to reach 160 million people by 2050. 

The GAFI (General Authority for investment and Free Zones) is an affiliate of the Ministry of Investment (MOI) and the principal government body regulating and facilitating investment in Egypt. 

Since December 2019, GAFI falls directly under Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly while before it was headed by Mrs. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation from 2015-2019. 

GAFI has developed an Investors’ Map with an interactive online overview of all projects and investment opportunities in Egypt as well as detailed information and data that local and foreign investors require. To improve Egypt’s rank of 120/190 countries in the World Bank Group’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business report, GAFI opened the ‘Investor Service Centre’, an advanced ‘one-stop-shop’ where investors can set-up their company (in one day) and execute all necessary activities under one roof. This appears to have been successful since Egypt currently ranks 114/190 countries in 2023. 

Diplomatic Relations

The Netherlands Embassy in Cairo houses a relatively large economic department including an agriculture attaché with staff and a Dutch water-expert. Furthermore the Egyptian-Dutch Business Club headed by Mr. Tarek Tawfik, counts for around 100 members and organises informal business meetings supported by the Netherlands Embassy.

The Netherlands


The current Dutch ambassador in Cairo is Mr. Peter Mollema. More information:



Egypt is represented in the Netherlands via its embassy in The Hague led by Ambassador Mr. Hatem Elsayed Mohamed Kamaleldin.

Presence of Dutch companies

With 15 Dutch companies active in Egypt, and 150 companies that have business relations with Egypt, there is an ongoing process of establishing a promising trade relation with the Netherlands.


21st April, 2020. Doing Business in Egypt. The recording is available via our YouTube channel.