Cairo – 23rd March 2013 – Many familiar faces in this room joined us in April of 2011 for a two day conference ironically enough titled “Egypt and the Challenges of Economic Reform”.
Back then, I saw a golden light of optimism on the faces of all who were present, but today I see the gloom of uncertainty engulf the room.
Where did we go wrong? and what can we do about it, are the two main themes of today and tomorrow.
For those who know me, I have been a strong advocate of private sector interests for almost a decade now.
And with over 85% of you here today representing the private sector, please allow me to make the following points.
We can no longer sit back and watch our businesses, hard work, time, effort and investments go to waste.
We can no longer be excluded from policy formulation, and participation in the decision making process.
After the revolution… the majority of us refuse to again be side lined for the best interest of a few over the many
As members of the private sector We must all understand our true weight as an integral part of the Egyptian economy, society and the communities we work in and are part of
We are the private sector, we own the factories, we own the business, we own the services
We are the driving engine of economic growth and the largest employer of both skilled and unskilled labor in the country.
The very nature of the private sector is built on efficiency, on the notion of success, on the understanding of profit and loss.
For most of us, our businesses are like little states within a state,
We too hold elections, electing our chairpersons and board members, We have well defined organizational structures, and strive to develop and sustain healthy corporate cultures, we have internal policies and procedures to abide by, we provide medical insurance and education through trainings and employee development programs,
We strive for best business practices, corporate governance and transparency, We conduct surveys, polls and focus groups and measure customer satisfaction so that we may continually improve on our services and products
We have a mission, a vision and even a philosophy and we measure efficiency, competency, and performance
We have Corporate Social Responsibility programs serving communities across the nation, working hand in hand with civil society to build our country.
That being said, we expect nothing less from the current leadership of this country.
Everyday which passes is a day we shall never regain in our efforts to build on Egypt’s Glorious Past…. for a Flushing future.
We refuse to be marginalized at a time when everyone of your ideas, thoughts, your knowledge, expertise and experiences are so desperately needed
The time has come for us to make a stance, not only for our voices and opinions to be heard, but for our recommendations to be turned into action.
I speak to the leadership when I say “change your focus from borrowing and more borrowing to making breakthroughs in our private sector, in services, manufacturing, trade and innovation.”
Put aside all differences and work with us to save Egypt from economic collapse.
Provide us with the right environment and we will build more factories, businesses, ports, urban communities, we will invest in research and technologies, education and infrastructure. We will build farms in the desert and cities in the sea. We will provide jobs for the young and dignity for the retired.
I am not speaking of the impossible,
Actually you will hear many “possible things” here today and tomorrow, but it is up to us, what we will do with them to help revive Egypt’s economy, our business and guarantee a better future for our families.