Business dos and don'ts in Egypt

Rvo ,  Thursday, 28 September 2017

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Do you want to do business in Egypt? Read the tips below.

Personal contact is indispensable for doing business in Egypt. Visit the country regularly. If you only do business by telephone, fax or e-mail, this irritates. Some visits are needed to build up the personal bond. Usually, you have too little time during your visit to Egypt; use flexible planning. Make an appointment for a next call before you leave.


The traffic in Cairo is chaos. Parking spaces are almost impossible to find. The Egyptian, therefore, does not blame you for coming too late. Give a hand when entering the building. Start with the one behind the largest desk and finish with the youngest one present. Do the same thing when leaving. Many Egyptians speak English or French but would appreciate it if you could say some words Arabic.

Discussions are strictly businesslike. At the beginning of the conversation, change some generalities.

Hardly any delegation is carried out. You almost always do business with the top man in an organization. Calls are regularly made in an atmosphere that we find difficult, for example by incoming calls. You usually drink tea during meetings.

Avoid directness. Do not start with sensitive issues such as religion and domestic politics.


Egyptians seem easy and informal to deal with. They are sensitive to titles. Use these titles in your conversation. Most Egyptians have three names, for example, Mohamed Amin Mostafa. Preferably use the last name (Mr. Mostafa).

Business cards

Use two-sided business cards. Use English on the one hand and Arabic on the other. Write your first name in full.

Business Gifts

Give business gifts with your company's logo or that are typical of the country you come from. The Egyptian business world gives each other relatively expensive and beautiful business gifts.


The business attire consists of a suit and tie. Women do well to cover their shoulders and knees. In the large cities, people wear relatively more modern clothing than in the countryside.


If your interlocutor is a Muslim, don't offer pork and alcoholic beverages. Be cautious with food, drink, and smoking in his presence during Ramadan.

This article of is based on . Translated from the Dutch language by Jos Deuling.  

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