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Veronafiere exhibition for companies seeking Egypt’s trading opportunities

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
2014 September October
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Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour with Gian Paola Pedretti, Marmomacc 2013
Egyptian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour (centre) talks with Veronafiere's GianPaola Pedretti (left) on a visit to Marmomacc 2013
As Egypt announces plans to build 3,200km of new roads, Italian company Veronafiere is launching a new exhibition in Cairo for companies who want to exploit Egypt’s trading opportunities. Kristina Smith reports.

In July this year, Egypt’s Minister of Transportation Hany Dahy told the Al-Ahram newspaper that the government’s national development plan includes up to 3,200km of new roads at an estimated cost of LE36 billion (€3.92 billion/US$5 billion). Around 1,200km, costing LE17 billion (€1.85 billion/$2.4 billion), are expected to be finished within the next 12 months with plans to repair roads and bridges damaged during the unrest also on the table.

Construction projects, on hold due to the political unrest, have started up again following the election of former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president in May 2014. For some companies, the time is right to start looking at opportunities in Egypt and beyond.

Exhibition company Veronafiere, which has been considering Egypt since 2009, will hold its first construction equipment, quarrying and stone technology exhibition MS Africa & Middle East in the capital Cairo from 11-14 December, 2014.

MS Africa & Middle East will combine natural stone show Marmomacc and construction equipment exhibition Samoter. In addition a completely new event, Projex Africa, which will focus on green and renewable building products and technologies, will run alongside.

“We were about to launch last year, but due to the political situation we had to wait,” says GianPaola Pedretti, who heads up Veronafiere’s international operations.
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Pyramids of Giza , Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza are evidence of Egypt's ancient stone quarrying and processing
“Now there is a new president, a new government and a new stability under el-Sisi. We are very happy to see that the economy is really recovering, with all the main construction works restarting.”

As well as being a growing construction market in its own right, with the refinery and housing sectors earmarked for increasing activity in the near future, Egypt’s position and relationship with neighbouring countries make it an ideal hub for export.

The country’s well-established quarrying industry, for example, sees it trading granite and marble with 150 countries around the world.  

“Egypt is the biggest and the most stable country in North Africa,” says Pedretti.

“It is much easier to establish a business there and access the African market, rather than set up in other African countries.”

Egypt has free trade agreements with Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) agreement means Egypt can trade with the 19 other member states without paying duty.

Veronafiere has set up a series of educational sessions, with content approved by architectural institutions in the US and the UK, in order to attract professionals to the show.

Pedretti says that the company is organising delegations from trade and professional associations in sub-Saharan countries including Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The stone industry in Egypt

Quarrying and processing stone in Egypt have ancient origins, as evidenced by the Pyramids of Giza, which are some 4,500 years old.

Today, the country is among the top ten world producers of marble and granite, and according to recent data provided by the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) office in Cairo, current investments in the Egyptian marble industry come to around US$2.5 billion.
Though Chinese contractors have established a strong presence in many African countries, Pedretti believes that governments are now also looking for the kind of approach that European suppliers can provide.

“Chinese contractors use a Chinese labour force, and bring in all their building materials, food and other resources from China. That means that there is no economic benefit for the country in which they are building during the whole life of the project,” she says.

“Now many governments in Africa are more interested in the approach and quality that European companies can offer.”

The 2014 show is the first step in a three-year plan which will see Veronafiere running MS Africa & Middle East in Cairo annually.

“We plan to hold the event there every year because we really think this market has great prospects, and we believe the political situation will get better and better,” says Pedretti.

Making contact:

•    Veronafiere: Tel: +39 0458298133  or  +39 0458298800.  Email: vfi@veronafiere.it

•    Art Line/ExpoLink: Hosni Fouad (Art Line) Tel:  +2 (02) 227 322 37  or +2 (02) 227 322 38
      Mahmoud Roushdy (ExpoLink) Tel:  +2 (02) 252 710 10

•    Management Committee: hosni.fouad@artline.com.eg, mrushdy@expolink.org, pedretti@veronafiere.it, mathiasz@veronafiere.it    www.msafrica.net

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