Local and foreign investors seem optimistic about Egypt’s construction outlook as the government is taking a raft of economic reform measures and moving ahead with major housing projects.

Such an attitude was manifested during BATIMAT Egypt 2017, a major building materials conference – held in Cairo last week- where dozens of local and foreign investors in the building and construction sectors took part.

France’s leading building show BATIMAT, which is held for the first time in Egypt, featured hundreds of engineers, constructors, designers, architects, tradesmen, retailers, and business people, willing to invest in the field.

“Driven by demographics, mega projects launched by the Egyptian government will contribute to the future growth of the construction sector,” French Ambassador in Cairo Andre Parant told the gathering during the opening session of the conference.

Mr. Parant also highlighted the great potential of the Egyptian building and construction sectors with recent government economic measures, including in the foremost the November flotation of the Egyptian pound.

“French companies and authorities have understood the potential of the Egyptian market and have decided to work together along with Egyptian authorities and the private sector to tailor comprehensive solutions answering Egyptian challenges,” the ambassador said in his speech.

A total of 23 French companies, operating in the field of building, construction, and renewable energy participated in last week’s conference. The companies gathered all at the French Sustainable City Society pavilion during the exhibition.

“The companies’ know-how is widely recognized and they provide diverse, relevant, innovative, and operational solutions in the fields of urban mobility, utilities management, sustainable habitat, and smart cities,” the French envoy said.

“Egypt’s construction sector is witnessing a noticeable improvement in the current period, especially with regard to the establishment of the new administrative capital,” Managing Director of Schneider Electric in Egypt Waleed Shata said at a panel discussion during the conference.

Shata added that the new Administrative Capital project will contribute to expanding businesses in the field of energy management and automatic control in Egypt. Shata also highlighted his company’s readiness to contribute to the transformation of energy management and automatic control at buildings at the new capital.

“In the past, solutions to the energy shortage problems relied on traditional ways. But the future is moving towards depending on reducing the consumption of energy through automatic control and the use of power-saving devices and equipment,” he added.

Paris-based energy management and automation solution provider Schneider Electric has been operating in Egypt since 1987, establishing its ISO certified regional equipment plant for MV & LV distribution cells and Product Distribution Center in Badr City on the outskirts of Cairo.

“We believe that the Egyptian construction market is a very promising one,” Natalie El-Motei, marketing and business development manager at the French company Green Energy Integrated Solutions (GEIS), told Invest-Gate.

G.E.I.S delivers integrated solutions ranging from design, engineering, procurement, installation and after-sales to residential, commercial, tourism, and industrial markets.

El-Motei added that her company is planning to increase their investments in the Egyptian market and expand as the investment climate has significantly improved. “We took about two or three years to assess the situation in Egypt, especially after the January 25 Revolution. But now we believe that the business environment is getting better,” El-Motei added.

Local investors are also upbeat about Egypt’s construction sector. CEO of the Egyptian Company for Engineering and Commerce (EGEC) Mahmoud Abdel Razak said that Egypt’s current pace in construction and real estate makes the country a hive of activity.

“Projects in the new cities around Cairo, construction of offices, shopping malls, the government’s social housing project, and the expansion of the Suez Canal, among other industry and infrastructure projects make the country very attractive for both local and foreign investors,” Abdel Razak believes.

However, he urged the government to uproot all obstacles for investors in the Egyptian market. “One of the major difficulties we face in Egypt is bureaucracy and of course foreign investors face the same hurdles. The government has to find a way to end this red tape in order to draw in investors,” he complained, pinning hopes on the soon- to-be-issued new investment law, which is to pave the way for the improvement of the investment climate in Egypt.

With the government’s recent major housing projects and with an exponentially growing population, it seems that the country’s building and construction sectors will be a bellwether for potential future investments in Egypt.

This year, BATIMAT and Egypt Project Summit combined to offer the most complete range of products and solutions suited to the construction market in Egypt and the Middle East. BATIMAT Egypt was also attended by dozens of representatives of foreign companies from France, Germany, Turkey, among others.