Conferences and Workshops

Formalization of Business and Real Estate in Egypt

Date : 1/18/2004

Speakers : Multiple Speakers

The Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) and the Instituto Libertad Democracia (ILD) have completed a major study and developed concrete proposals on how to integrate the informal sector in Egypt into mainstream economic activity. The project was developed in close consultation with key policymakers. The work was carried out by a team of lawyers and economists from Egypt and Peru. It followed the pioneering work of Hernando De Soto. It covers the two key dimensions of extra-legality: business and real estate. The analysis deals with the magnitude of the problem, the causes of extra-legality, the legal and policy measures to eliminate it, as well as the development of a framework for implementation.The ultimate objective of the project is to provide policymakers with a blueprint for converting extra-legally held property and business to the legal system in Egypt. The findings of the study was presented in a large conference held on January 18, 2004, at the Conrad International Hotel, Cairo. The conference was intended primarily to: (1) seek feedback from various stakeholders, (2) increase awareness of the potential benefits of formalization, and (3) build support for the adoption of reform.More specifically, the conference attempted to answer the following questions:1. Why is formalization good for rapid economic growth, poverty reduction, job creation, social stability and the rule of law?2. Who are the likely winners from formalization and why is it good for both the poor and business in general?3. What are the policy and institutional reforms needed to motivate extralegal businesses in Egypt to join the formal sector and stay formal?4. What are the policy and institutional reforms needed to motivate owners of extralegal real estate to formalize their assets?5. Looking forward, what are the next steps to implement the recommended reforms?