Egypt’s economy has been booming in recent years, thanks to its young population crossing 100 million, and its geographical location linking the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. The country is always exploring new possibilities to attract global investors. The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) is an ambitious project aimed at boosting global trade utilizing the strategic location of the Suez Canal. This canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea is a vital trade route that turned Egypt into a global trade hub.
The SCZone was formed to attract international businesses and facilitate trade, providing a streamlined route for goods and services. It positions Egypt as a key player in global supply chains and strengthens its position as a logistics and trading hub.
The SCZone has four distinct zones and six ports. The four zones are:
- Ain Sokhna: Ain Sokhna is one of the largest industrial port complexes in the world. It is an industrial zone supporting light, medium, and heavy manufacturing activities.
- East Port Said: East Port Said is dedicated to industrial and manufacturing activities. It serves as the region’s leading transshipment hub and trade gateway.
- Qantara West: This zone is ideal for agribusiness and will support light manufacturing activities.
- East Ismailia: This zone specializes in R&D activities in renewable energies and information and communications technology (ICT).
Top benefits of investing in the SCZone
The SCZone was formed to improve Egypt’s economy by boosting international trade. There are varied factors that beckon investors and entrepreneurs to SCZone. Having a business setup in Egypt, especially in the SCZone has several advantages including:
- Autonomous governance: Businesses operating in the SCZone benefit from autonomous governance under the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone. This governing body has executive powers for approvals and can oversee all aspects of operations for investors and businesses. It ensures easier and fastest business setup processes.
- Tax benefits: The tax benefits offered by SCZone are yet another key advantage for investors. Foreign companies operating in the SCZone are exempt from customs duties and sales tax on imports. Additionally, foreign investors have 100% ownership of their business and full control of import/export activities.
- One-stop shop for registration: This zone also allows investors to obtain commercial licenses and permits easily. It will help them save time and costs.
- Skilled workforce: In Egypt, businesses have access to skilled labor at competitive costs. The country’s huge population which is mostly youngsters is a boon to anyone who aspires to start a business here.
- Market access: Investors can capitalize on Egypt’s free trade agreements with varied countries which increases their opportunities for trade with countries like Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Key Sectors in SCZone
The SCZone offers a plethora of investment opportunities in the fields like manufacturing, logistics, energy, tourism, and agriculture. Following are some of the key sectors that investors can explore:
- Manufacturing and industrialization: The streamlined customs procedures, a skilled workforce, and tax benefits are the prominent factors that attract investors to the manufacturing sector in the SCZone.
- Transport and logistics: The remarkable development in the transport and logistics sector coupled with the move to automate the customs processes in SCZone will contribute to the advancement of businesses.
- Energy and renewable resources: Egypt has several projects for renewable energy projects and green fuels which promises a great opportunity for the investors in this sector. Also, the country’s strategic geographical location and favorable market conditions also endorse its potential to become a global powerhouse of green energy.
- Tourism and hospitality: As it is a popular tourist destination in the world, investing in the tourism and hospitality sector in the SCZone is a great way to start your business setup or investment journey in the region.
Egypt is planning to make the Suez Canal Economic Zone a major logistics hub in the region by implementing mega infrastructure projects. The SCZone’s features like ease of connectivity, market access, tax benefits, and a flexible business environment. It attracts investors worldwide to Egypt. Furthermore, the country has several other plans for this industrial zone. It will further help them leverage its potential to become a global trade hub.