Egyptian Culture

Business Culture


  • It is recommended that appointments for any meetings be made in advance. Confirm the meeting one week prior through writing or telephone, and then again a day or two before the date in question.
  • Business meetings usually begin with the host serving coffee or tea, accompanied with light conversation about one’s health, family, etc. This socialisation period is essential to establish trust and confidence between both parties.
  • Expect a meeting to be prolonged and continue for much longer than planned. Be patient and remember that it is considered rude to try and rush a meeting.
  • It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task since business tends to move at a relatively slow pace.
  • Egyptians tend to have an ‘open-door’ approach to meetings whereby they are not private unless there are confidential matters that need to be discussed.
  • There may be frequent interruptions and others may wander into the room and begin a different discussion. If this occurs, try not to bring the topic back to the original discussion until the person who recently wandered in leaves the meeting space.
  • High-level government officials often adhere to more Western-style business practices and may hold private meetings without interruptions.
  • In Egypt, the written contract is not generally considered to signify the finalisation of the deal. Egyptians often attempt to continue to negotiate better terms throughout the business relationship. In turn, it is important to be aware that ongoing attempts at bartering may occur.
  • It is important to demonstrate deference to the most senior person present at the meeting, who will most likely be the spokesperson of the company. Egyptians respect and observe the perceived and rankings among a group of people.
  • Egyptians can be tough negotiators. Avoid using high-pressure tactics but rather always include research and documentation to support your claims.
  • Decisions are reached after lengthy deliberation. The highest-ranking person makes decisions, often after obtaining group consensus. If the government is involved, discussions and decision-making will take longer since approval is often needed by ministers of several departments.


  • In Egyptian business culture, networks tend to be more important than expertise. Network building and cultivating a number of contacts is considered important and is viewed positively.
  • It is common for people to bend rules and put different interpretations on regulations in order to get around business constraints. While Australians may be uncomfortable with this, some Egyptians may consider it to be efficient and common sense.
  • Egyptians tend to prefer doing business with those they are familiar with and respect. Thus, one can expect that a considerable amount of time will be spent on developing a relationship before business is conducted.
  • Age and experience are also considered important, particularly in the government.
  • Regardless of their skills and competency, older people tend to fill most of the supervisory and leadership positions.
  • Since age and experience are highly regarded, it is advisable to include older people with impressive titles in your team.
  • Business cards tend to be given without a formal ritual.
  • It is likely that your Egyptian business counterpart will offer you coffee or tea as an act of hospitality. Always accept the beverage, even if you do not drink what is offered. Declining the offer is often viewed as rejecting the person.
  • Wearing good quality conservative clothing is highly regarded in Egyptian business culture. To make a good impression, be sure to present yourself neatly at all times.
  • Egyptians tend not to appreciate confrontation and avoid saying a ‘no’. If they do not respond to a proposal, it is usually a negative sign (see Communication for more information).
  • On the (2017), Egypt ranks 117th out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 32 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat corrupt.

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