The CDA’s Speech at Egyptian Community Impact Session of the AmCham and U.S. Chamber’s U.S. Business Mission to Egypt
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It’s a pleasure to be with you. I would like to start by thanking the leadership of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt: Tarek Tawfik and his distinguished board, along with Sylvia Menassa and her team, for organizing this event to highlight the contributions of U.S. companies to Egypt’s economy and communities.
It is a pleasure to recognize and be with the Minister of Social Solidarity. I appreciate her partnership. She has played a key role in relations between the United States and Egypt for many years. Thank you Minister Waly for addressing this distinguished group of American business people.
It goes almost without saying that American companies are the finest in the world. Their scale is global and they have played a pivotal leadership role in the success of the global economy over the past 70 years. American corporate leadership in building global prosperity is ongoing as a brief look at the performance of American markets and current economic statistics will show you.
One thing that stands out about American companies, and, I believe, that distinguishes them from competitors around the world, is the effort they make wherever they are to be good corporate citizens and to contribute to the long term success and thriving of societies in which they invest and in which they operate.
American companies bring investment and create employment. In providing the best products to consumers at the best prices, they do so with an eye to the future and to the long-term interests both of the companies themselves and the societies and economies that host them. They bring the best technology and innovative processes for applying technology to work; they strive for diversity in the workforce and promote and advance talented employees based on merit and accomplishment; they protect the environment and minimize their environmental footprint; they promote strong ethical values of responsibility and transparency; and they do all this in a spirit of service to the customer and to society as a whole.
The United States strongly values and actively promotes this high standard of corporate citizenship and social responsibility, one that comes naturally to American companies. In addition to strong business practices, American companies strive to “give back” to their local host communities. It’s good business and it’s good citizenship whether in the United States or overseas.
U.S. companies doing business in Egypt are making substantial impacts in local communities through a variety of social engagement programs and projects. There are many examples of this and doubtless many more than I know about, but I want to highlight a handful that have come to my attention.
The Proctor & Gamble Company, for example, has invested over half a billion dollars in Egypt, including two factories that are exporting to the Middle East and North Africa. The company employs 1,500 Egyptians, in addition to supporting 10,000 indirect jobs in supply, advertising and logistics. For P&G, Egypt has become a talent-factory, with a superior training and development program for all its employees. About 40 Egyptian professionals are working in corporate leadership roles around the world, including at its headquarters in Ohio.
General Motors, another major U.S. investor in Egypt, has worked to increase the capacity of local suppliers of spare parts for the automotive industry, upgrading the standards and quality control of these Egyptian companies to global levels. This program has been a model for similar work by other U.S. companies.
Mars Wrigley has been present in Egypt since 1995. The Chicago-based candy maker recently added two new production lines worth 750 million EGP (43 million dollars). The Mars factory in 6th of October City employs 1,000 workers and supports up to 10,000 indirect jobs in supply, distribution, logistics, advertising and retail. Its management team, up to the highest levels, are Egyptian. And its environmental footprint is zero.
Johnson Wax, in Egypt since 1982, has been producing household products in aerosol and liquid format in ways that respect the environment and reduce petroleum product inputs, developing new environmentally-friendly materials for the Egyptian market.
Heinz USA, another long-term investor, transferred to Egypt the technology and know-how for tomato growing and processing, allowing Heinz Egypt to become the first Egyptian company that produced tomato concentrate according to international standards back in 1993. Consequently, Heinz Egypt also became the first Egyptian company to export tomato products not only to Middle East and Africa, but also to Europe. The company worked with USAID and other partners to double the productivity of tomato farming in Egypt.
A newer entrant is Uber. Here since 2015, the company quickly saw the potential of the Egyptian market and the talented and educated workforce. Uber’s “Center of Excellence” in New Cairo employs over 500 people and handles all of the company’s customer service outreach for Africa and the Middle East, providing training and experience in the “new economy” to hundreds of ambitious, skilled young Egyptians.
Not only do U.S. companies provide jobs and investment, they carry the strongest commitment to doing good. They invest in human resource development, transfer technology and knowhow, uphold the highest safety and industrial standards, pay fair wages, pay their taxes, and engage transparently.
Doing business right is part of the American brand. It is what our companies stand for and part of the value proposition in doing business with them.
In Egypt, U.S. companies are addressing health, social, environmental and economic challenges as local communities strive to adapt to the evolving needs of society.
Our friends at Apache, PepisCo, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Pfizer are leaders in such corporate social responsibility activities. Just a few short examples:
Apache’s contributions to build and maintain hundreds of rural schools have changed the lives of thousands of Egyptian girls.
PepsiCo’s innovative Liter of Light program creatively recycles plastic bottles and uses them to provide free light to hundreds of homes in Upper Egypt.
Pfizer’s humanitarian efforts have contributed to medical education and health care for Egypt’s most vulnerable.
P&G has been a pioneer in working with garbage collectors to sort and recycle garbage.
The Boeing Company, is making a big difference in education. The company has a partnership with Cairo University to support student engineering projects in the area of aerospace.
Coca Cola is very active in multiple CSR projects. The company recently started a program to install drinking water pipes to thousands of homes in lower income areas.
Exxon Mobil is partnering with NGOs to help improve educational opportunities at all levels, from basic literacy programs to universities, as well as addressing a particularly vulnerable population — street children – providing them with much needed health and educational support.
The corporate social responsibility projects being implemented by these companies, and dozens of others, illustrate the commitment U.S. businesses have to the Egyptian people and their devotion to a better future for Egypt. These businesses care about the communities where they operate and the people around them. They have demonstrated faithfulness to Egypt that is improving lives for generations to come.
I would be remiss if I did not comment on other ways the U.S. government supports investment in Egypt. The Egyptian American Enterprise Fund supports over 130 million dollars invested in SME financing, electronic bill paying, healthcare manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. We are hoping this will grow to 200 million dollars by the end of the year.
USAID is deepening its emphasis on private sector engagement. The U.S. Government recognizes that achieving solutions to global challenges requires cooperation across public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Further, we know that engaging private sector actors is key to solving the development challenges we face today as private sources represent 91 percent of financial flows into emerging markets.
This approach is particularly applicable in a place like Egypt, where a thriving private sector makes it possible for the United States to act as a co-investor and a global partner.
In the past, USAID has undertaken a number of highly successful projects in close coordination with the private sector, including partnerships with U.S.-Egypt Business Council Member companies such as Coca-Cola, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, General Motors, and Microsoft. We have also worked with Heinz, Oracle, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Houghton Mifflin, and HSBC.
These partnerships have helped to increase school access and enrollment, improve the quality of water resources in rural areas, improve incomes for smallholder farmers, increase access to credit for micro- and small-enterprises, and much more.
The broader U.S.-Egypt economic relationship – both government and private sector – is as much about investing in people as anything else. Good corporate citizenship makes good business for America and for Egypt, supporting all of the work we do together in the strategic partnership between our countries.
Thank you for your support today.