Much of the world may not have the perception that Egypt is booming, but you don’t have to strain to see that the country is swiftly changing…
From the large infrastructure projects that the government is investing into, Egypt is on a new path of vast growth. And it’s not just the government, the private sector is fueling the growth in fashion, retail, and the food and beverage sectors. Marakez, a real estate developer; Platform, a commercial and retail projects management company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are such entities a part of fueling retail in Cairo.
One factor that is also helping retail growth is that Egyptian law requires that for every compound or real estate project there has to be a commercial area. Egypt is a high consumer market where Egyptians like to go out and enjoy shopping and dining, so this law is beneficial to the private sector. With a mixture of pure Egyptian brands, to international brands already in the country or coming into it, it’s creating healthy competition.
With a 2 percent population growth a year in Egypt, the middle class is emerging, there is a shift of population from different places within Cairo, secondary cities are rising, and there is a shifting of preferences for the consumer. “Globalization really does have an effect; the internet really does have an effect in terms of people’s preferences,” says Basil Ramzy, the CEO of Marakez.
Maria Muñoz, Co-founder of Maison Pyramide also sees the growth in the country. “The private sector is really helping these talents rise by investing in them, giving them visibility, or giving them a platform to showcase, to organize their retail, giving them access to information, and access to secondary markets,” she says.
Marakez is one of the Middle East’s real estate developers, owned by Fawaz Al Kokair, the largest mall operator in Saudi Arabia and the region. When they came to Egypt, they wanted to open a mall in Cairo and they quickly came to realize that mall development in Egypt is very different from Saudi Arabia. Cementing a local team that knows about the market to manage what they’re doing was key. “What we’re trying to do is create places where there’s a lot of energy where people are attracted to. We consider ourselves a developer of mixed used development.” says Ramzy.
Shopping and retail are at the core of getting people to congregate. “A downtown isn’t a downtown without commerce. What we’re trying to do is create places where there’s a lot of energy, where people are attracted to,” notes Ramzy.
The age of Covid has affected their business model, a model based on bringing people together in office space, retail or communities. “We’re feeling how powerful our business model is because we’re restricted enacting it the way we want.” But, Marakez’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Ashraf Makiad is hopeful. “Recovery