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When investing in property in Egypt or any international market, there are a number of challenges to overcome. Often, it will involve personal contact with professionals and associates local to the property. Plenty of e-mails (often spaced out due to time differences) and expensive phone calls are also common. When any kind of personal contact with international associates is required, especially face-to-face negotiations, it is vital to understand any cultural differences in play. This will help not only avoid problems, but ensure smooth and friendly negotiations that can significantly boost your business.

Clothing

Egypt is a Muslim country, and is sensitive to certain issues regarding dress.

This point is particularly pertinent for women. For a woman doing business with Egyptian associates, clothing must not be revealing in any way. It is vital to ensure skirts extend below the knee and to wear long sleeves whenever you meet with these associates.

For men, dressing correctly is somewhat easier. A simple, dark-colored business suit is the main thing you will require. Ensure that no jewellery is worn near your face or neck.

Business Etiquette

In order to succeed in the Egyptian property market, it is vital to observe the correct codes of business etiquette when dealing with local contacts.

One of the most important points to consider is that meetings should not be rearranged unless absolutely necessary. In many Western countries, rescheduling a meeting is common practice. It is frequently done in light of unexpected developments or changing business needs. In Egypt, however, this is considered rude, especially when the meeting is with somebody you have not met before.

It is a good idea to form clear plans for the meeting in advance, perhaps a week or more ahead of time. This will not only be considered polite and respectful, but help you to keep the specifics of the meeting in mind while making other plans and ensure that rescheduling will not be necessary.

Status

In the property investment business, status is often an important factor and this is particularly true in Egypt. When addressing people, you should always use their complete professional title. For example, where appropriate, always include titles such as Professor, Doctor or Sir when addressing somebody. Even if they do not have a professional title, always include standard titles such as Mr and Mr and Mrs.

Of course, negotiations with Egyptian associates should be performed with a standpoint of complete mutual respect, as with any other cross-cultural business dealings. This includes careful consideration of cultural sensitivities. The Egyptian property market is a thriving and potentially very lucrative one. In return for help gaining access to investments, properly respecting the traditions and customs of your associates is a small price to pay.