February 22, 2016 Print

ECPPS Executive Director Mahmoud Farouk presented an award to the vice governor of Cairo for placing highest on the Governorate Performance Index at empowering small and medium-sized enterprises.

Nobody is better at meeting the needs of people in local communities than entrepreneurs who live and work there every day, so the health of an economy can be gauged by how well small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are flourishing. Atlas Network partner the Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS) organized a recent conference in Cairo titled “Governorate Performance Index: Empowering local small and medium enterprises,” where it presented its groundbreaking Governorate Performance Index (GPI), which monitors the obstacles and business environments that SMEs face in all 22 Egyptian governorates.

The conference brought together relevant participants from a variety of sectors, including both government officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as representatives from national and international organizations. Both British ambassador to Egypt John Casson and the head of the German Embassy’s economic department, Jan Bitnner, spoke about how their embassies have adopted the ECPPS index as a data source on the status of SMEs in Egypt.

“First of all, the SMEs are going to be the engine that transforms the Egyptian economy,” Casson said in his address about the GPI. “Secondly, they’re going to set the example for the whole of society politics in driving innovation, driving good ideas for government and holding government accountable to deliver. And the way they’re going to do that, thirdly, is because they have the power of data in their hands. … In your hands, you have real gold to push the government to create a successful SME sector, which would mean a successful Egypt, which would mean a successful Middle East, which would mean a successful world and a successful country for Germany and for Britain as well. And that’s why this book you have in your hand is true treasure.”

Over six months of development, the ECPPS team compiled GPI data in part by surveying entrepreneurs in seven different economic sectors: trade, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, health, and building and construction. The survey questions covered the challenges of establishing new enterprises, finance, governance, competition and innovation, dispute resolution and the legal environment, infrastructure and services, and the interactions between entrepreneurs and both government and labor.

“The index helps entrepreneurs to know more about the best-ranked governorates, with good environments for starting businesses,” ECPPS explains (translated from Arabic). “It also facilitates knowledge of which governorates attract local investments, protect competition between investors, and help them to overcome challenges as they enter and exit the market. … The index presents a variety of databases that help entrepreneurs know more about financing institutions, business incubators, industrial zones, and training providers.”