Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by The Health Master
Egypt has rolled out the red carpet for Indian active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturers to invest in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), as the northeast African country aims to become a hub of pharmaceutical products supplying to the entire African continent.
The Egyptian government in a communication to Embassy of India, Cairo has shown interest in collaboration with Indian manufacturers for production of API in Egypt. The Indian High Commission has then written to Pharmexcil in this regard.
Later the council has called on its member companies about opportunities for Indian API manufacturers in SCZone.
Said Uday Bhaskar, director general, Pharmexcil, “We have informed our member companies about opportunities for bulk drug manufacturers in SCZone following communication from our mission in Cairo. Manufacturing of API has been identified as a priority sector by the Egyptian government with a vision to transform the country as a hub of pharmaceutical products supplying to entire African continent.”
“SCZone offers varied financial incentives, tax breaks and perks from Egypt’s free trade agreements to maximize the benefits for investors. Member companies looking forward to expanding their business operations in the region and are willing to set up manufacturing units in Egypt may write directly to Tarek Hasjem, investors relation manager, Suez Canal Economic Zone ([email protected]/[email protected]) with a copy to Nahas Ali, Second Secretary, Embassy of India, Cairo (Cairo [email protected]),” said Bhaskar.
India ranks third worldwide for pharmaceutical production by volume and 13th by value, accounting for around 10 per cent of world’s production by volume and 1.5 per cent by value. In 2017, the country exported pharmaceutical products worth US$ 162 million to Egypt. There is a huge scope for Indian exporters in import-dominated northeast African country.
India and Egypt have been working on modalities to strengthen economic relations for the last few years, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical industry being the bridge to bind the two. India already has great advantages in terms of providing quality drugs at affordable rate. Egypt is a huge market which offers export potentials as well as possibilities of investments. It provides Indian drugmakers with the base to expand to other parts of the region, the Arab world and Europe, said a leading pharma exporter in Africa.
Spread along the maritime route that connects the Red and the Mediterranean seas, Egypt’s 460-square-kilometre SCZone lies at the crossroads between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Established as part of Egypt’s sustainable development strategy, Vision 2030, SCZone aims to bring in foreign investment, especially to the country’s fast-growing manufacturing industry.
With 8% of the world’s seaborne trade passing through the Suez Canal each year, SCZone is well placed logistically. Ongoing port expansion will increase its capacity, enabling it to take better advantage of the 18,000 ships that use the canal annually. SCZone also has links to the Trans-African Highway network, which connects Cairo to Dakar, Cape Town, N’Djamena, Djibouti, Lagos and Mombasa.
“The economic zone is well suited to be the gateway to Africa. Egypt has the connectivity, the availability of manpower, and the availability of resources,” says Yehia Zaki, chairman of SCZone. The zone has four industrial areas and six seaports.
In terms of global market access, investors can also benefit from Egypt’s many free-trade agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, signed in 2018.
Multinational companies located in the SCZone are exempted from paying customs duties and sales tax on imports. Besides this, SCZone allows cent per cent foreign ownership and full control of import/export activities to multinational units. “Everyone has their own incentives, so we’re looking to enhance our incentives and provide additional services that will enable us to be one of the most successful zones in North Africa,” said Zaki.
All SCZone investors benefit from a one-stop shop to streamline the registration, licensing and granting of permits in the form of the Suez Canal Economic Development General Authority. The SCZone Authority has been given autonomy over all matters in the zone except national security.