Author: Tamer Hafez

This article was first published in June’s print edition of Business Monthly. Egypt’s tourism sector is on fire. Government data shows foreign visits reached an all-time high of over 14.9 million last year, adding 3.62 million visitors from a year earlier (27.7% growth). The government needs to maintain the sector’s annual growth between 25% and 30% for five years to achieve its goal of doubling the number of arrivals to 30 million annually by 2028. That would require a lot of investment. According to the State Information Service (SIS), as of September, Egypt has 216,000 hotel rooms “capable of accommodating…

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This article first appeared in June’s print edition of Business Monthly. With about 5,000 years of recorded history and more than 2,900 kilometers of shorelines along two seas, tourists coming to Egypt are spoiled with choices. In November, Tourism Minister Ahmed Eissa said the sector grew “eight times higher” than the global tourism rate through October,” reported state-owned Egypt Today. That high growth rate is vital for government plans to double the number of tourist arrivals to 30 million annually over the next four years. To sustain the sector’s long-term positive growth prospects, the government and tourist service providers need…

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This article was first published in May’s print edition of Business Monthly. For most Egyptian families, if they could afford to pay for private tutoring (shadow education) alongside their kids’ formal education, the decision would be a no-brainer. Those classes are almost always with their kids’ “regular schoolteachers,” the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE) said in its 2023-2027 strategy. Hassan Shehata, dean of curriculums at the Faculty of Education at Ain Shams University, told Al Masry Al Youm in November, “There is now no difference between students in public or private language schools. They all take private tutoring.”…

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This article first appeared in May’s issue of Business Monthly. Despite the advent of computers and the internet in classrooms, most see that current education systems are lagging, especially in emerging markets. “It is striking to reflect on how little education has changed in recent decades,” The Economist said in January. “Laptops and interactive whiteboards hardly constitute disruption.” That stands in stark contrast to how much younger generations embrace technology. “Many parents bewildered by how their children shop or socialize would be unruffled by how they are taught,” the Economist said. “The sector remains a digital laggard.” Accordingly, it is…

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This article first appeared in the May 2024 issue of Business Monthly. In today’s increasingly complicated, uncertain and intertwining world, high-quality elementary and secondary education is vital. “In addition to preparing students for the workforce, education systems are increasingly being asked to participate in resolving broader societal issues,” said a McKinsey & Company report in February. Those issues include mental health challenges among young people, political polarization and climate change. Despite their importance, education systems worldwide are noticeably deteriorating. “Student learning improvements are not keeping up with these demands,” the McKinsey report said. “More children than ever are in school,…

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This article first appeared in May’s print edition of Business Monthly. Since mid-2023, the U.S. Federal Reserve has kept inflation rates below 4%, down from an all-time high of 9.1% in June 2022, by raising its benchmark interest rate from 0.25% in March 2022 to 5.5% since August. “The [Fed] has done an excellent job bringing down inflation,” Forbes Advisor Wayne Duggan said in a January op-ed. However, the Fed faces a new dilemma in 2024 and beyond. Should it raise the interest rate to force inflation closer to the Fed’s 2% target, risking stagnation or even recession, where GDP…

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This article first appeared in May’s print edition of Business Monthly. One of the long-standing differentiators between developed and developing nations is the quality and accessibility of their education systems. To bridge that gap, the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MoETE) published a five-year pre-university education reform plan called the Education Sector Plan (ESP) 2023-2027. Its implementation started in the academic year 2023/2024. The plan seeks to “transform the Egyptian education system to ensure universal access to high-quality education and training, foundational learning for all, and skills for a sustainable future.” Its mandate covers “kindergarten to Grade 12.”…

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This article first appeared in April’s print edition of Business Monthly. Emerging markets have always sought to attract foreigners to invest in manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and services to grow their economies. “FDI provides many benefits, including efficient capital allocation, access to financial markets and new technology, [and] increasing total factor productivity and growth,” said a note from the Economic Research Forum, a local think tank, in January 2023. However, FDI is increasingly challenging to secure. A January report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said, “FDI to developing countries fell by 9% … in 2023.” Egypt faces…

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This article first appeared in April’s print edition of Business Monthly. Generation Z (Gen Z) — those aged 12 to 27 — will be vital to every company’s long-term success. “As Gen Z’s spending power increases in the coming years, it is essential that banks understand what makes this generation tick and how best to meet its needs,” Giesecke+Devrient, a cybersecurity company focusing on banks, said in an undated research paper. Many Gen Zers are unsatisfied with most of the financial services on offer. The survey accompanying the Giesecke+Devrient research paper shows “34% believe their banks meet their needs, 47%…

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This article first appeared in April’s print edition of Business Monthly. When ChatGPT, a free AI chatbot, launched in 2023, it put the spotlight on the entire artificial intelligence (AI) landscape. “Developments in AI have provoked a mixture of excitement and anxiety among commentators, politicians, policymakers and members of the public,” Jana Mackintosh, managing director of payments, innovation and resilience at UK Finance, a trade association, said in a November report. An August report from The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, stressed: “In its various forms, from simple rule-based systems to advanced…

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