Egypt seeks to strengthen trade with rest of continent
Egypt’s Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade is looking to double its exports of agricultural crops and is looking to African markets to realise this goal.
Through free trade agreements with Nigeria and Senegal (with more between West and Central Africa on the way) the North African nation is seeking to trade with notable African markets such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, highlighted that Egypt had already reached a preliminary agreement with IMO in 2004. After negotiations were halted, the ministry is now seeking to reach a final agreement through the current negotiations.
Abdel Nour added that the volume of African total product amounts to $2.5 trillion, that annual exports amounts to about $599.5 billion and that total annual imports are worth $605 billion. However, Egypt’s share of these amounts is no more than $4 billion.
Egypt is developing its trade relations with the rest of the continent based on three approaches:
1) Re-forming Egypt’s mutual interests with other African countries, moving from merely water-based interests to achieving broader economic outcomes
2) Strengthening Egypt’s presence in African markets by leveraging its commodities; the ministry seeks to transform the country into a major supplier of goods to needy African countries
3) Increase the size of the technical assistance provided by Egypt which assist with social and economic development.
Abdel Nour said: “The ministry implemented important steps to strengthen cooperation with Africa, including the signing an agreement with the African export-import bank for the allocation of a credit line worth $500m to finance Egyptian exports to the African markets. Furthermore, encourage the hosting of expos for African products in Egypt, which took place with the Food Africa expo.”
Egypt has launched the tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement between the main three economic blocs in Africa: the COMESA, The East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to facilitate trade between the member states.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.