How Egyptian Talents Can Survive The Economic Crisis in 2017
Omar El-Shenety is the founder of Multiples Group; a Dubai based boutique investment bank with private equity and investment banking practices, focusing on the MENA region. Also he has been working extensively on analyzing the key economic issues facing the Middle East region with focus on Egypt, trying to analyze economic issues and offering insights. El-Shenety periodically publishes economic articles in different newspapers as well as his personal blog. In this blog we will discus with Mr. Omar how Egyptian talents can Survive the economic crisis in 2017
Omar El-Shenety Interview
Mo. Waziry: Welcome Omar with us, it is a great honor and opportunity to have you as a guest in Careery interview series.
Omar El-Shenety.: Thank you, Mohamed, I am really glad I have the chance to help the Egyptian talent.
Mohamed: What’s your opinion about the current situation in Egypt and the economic landscape, is it all complicated and will last for long or is it a temporary situation, after that everything will change to where it has been. Are there any real insights on either short or long terms?
Omar: The situation is not promising in general. We are in a recession period, which is very tough on the general population; but to decide whether it is positive or negative, promising or disappointing, it is entirely relative. I cannot answer this question without determining who is the affected party. For example: if someone had been importing services or products, for him -for sure- the current economic situation and landscape is devastating, and he/she is in a real business risk. On the other hand, if someone was exporting local products or services, this will be his chance to grow and his business to flourish very high, because he gets paid in foreign currency.
So, the economic landscape can be analyzed from different points of view, according to the situation, the context and the very specific attributes of each person or entity.”
Mohamed: Do you think that the solution for the Egyptian talent is to travel or immigrate abroad and leave the country for better opportunities in Gulf, Europe countries, or this will make the situation worse?
Omar: In my point of view, unfortunately yes I think it’s better to travel and find a job abroad in the current situation.
Mohamed: But the Gulf area is in unrest and has its problems, will they be moving from a problem to another?
Omar: I agree, Gulf area is not stable at all, especially after the drop in oil prices and the involvement of some countries in wars like Saudia Arabia. In addition to the direction of some countries to hire locally like Saudization approach in KSA , which makes it more difficult for Egyptian talent to get a better place in the market. All of that makes the Gulf area, not the best option, but it is better than the situation here in Egypt; for example, if a talent works in KSA and gets 10,000 SAR, this is now 50,000 EGP, a few years ago 10,000 SAR were equivalent to 17,000 EGP. There is no comparison, despite the hard situation in Gulf, but at least the talent will come back to his country with savings of hard currency.
Mohamed: And how you think the Egyptian employee should do to manage his/her financials better efficiently or increase his/her income?
Omar: For people to improve their financial situation, they should increase their income, or they should cut their expenses. Of course, increasing income is way better than cutting expenses, but applying this, in reality, is way harder for the Egyptian employee to do, especially that most of the employees in the private sector return to their homes at 6 or 7 PM. They have very limited time to work extra hours that affect their income in a meaningful way. From my point of view, I advise and encourage the Egyptian employee to manage their expenses and change his consuming behavior.
Mohamed: And how can they change their consumption behavior?
Omar: For example, they can downgrade to local or less-in-price products, instead of buying A-Class products, they can change it with B-Class products and still feel there is no significant change in their lifestyle, at least until this crisis ends.
Mohamed: Some analysts say that the Egyptian market will be more potential for foreign investments because of the extremely low cost of materials, labor & land. Do you agree?
Omar: I agree with them, but this “very” optimistic scenario will not happen easily on the short run, especially we still have unstable political situation and need to revise the investment laws and regulations. It might happen after 2 to 3 years from now.
Mohamed: What’s your advice to Egyptian entrepreneurs?
Omar: To think deeply and analyze his situation, review his/her business and ask one’s self a critical question: Will this business model survive these hard circumstances in that economy? Will it last for the next 5-6 years? If the business is based on importing, then possibly shutting the business down is the best option, if it is based on exporting, then the business has an excellent opportunity to compete. Speaking of entrepreneurship, I strongly advise new entrepreneurs to think about offering local products, services and solutions for the market, because this is what has potential in an economy like that. However, on the other side, I advise all entrepreneurs not to expect that their businesses or start-ups will grow as expected before the economic crisis. Their businesses will grow if they work hard on that, but they will grow slowly.
Mohamed: If I ask you to advise the fresh grads, the talent that are new in the market and want to develop their skills and increase their potential and market value, what will you say to them?
Omar: I strongly advise them to travel abroad, to Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and immigrate. If they cannot immigrate, I advise them to at least apply for scholarships, to get exposed to different cultures and better opportunities, so when they return to Egypt after the crisis; they will have higher market value than their peers.
Mohamed: I see you are talking about Europe, what if I ask you about the Middle East?
Omar: The Middle East is entirely unstable, but I see the Gulf area has some potential, maybe one of the most affected countries now is Saudi Arabia, but there are others which have higher potential; Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE. So if fresh grads could find opportunities in these countries, I totally encourage them to.
Mohamed: Thank you, Omar, for the great advice, we hope you participate with Careery to help the Egyptian talents in the near future.
Omar: Thank you, Mohamed, it is a pleasure, I would love to help you more and looking forward to our next conversations.
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