For African and foreign businesses alike, expansion into North Africa is an increasingly attractive prospect
The need for flexible, reactive working space is universal across disciplines. Businesses of any size and stripe setting up in a Regus or Spaces location not only become privy to that one centre’s facilities – they also join a global network of thousands. If a company grows while in a Regus office, there is always a larger space to move into. Larger still, and that same company can start to look at growing across the world.
As the world’s largest workspace provider, Regus has centres in 110 countries and 900 cities across the world, helping businesses to not only to expand cross-city, but also support them with their global expansion.
Tarek Abou-Zeinab, Regus country manager across Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal and now Gabon, regularly attends events such as the Real Estate Development Summit – North Africa, which was held this April in at the Hyatt Regency Casablanca, to spread the word to developers and businesses alike.
“We participate for a lot of reasons,” explains Abou-Zeinab. “Number one is for awareness for the brand. Number two is the interaction with other area managers and investors. The third reason is mainly to know the market shares in each country – which are the countries that are investing, and what nationalities they are. That all helps me to direct our marketing team.”
It helps Abou-Zeinab to get a handle on which areas of the world may be interested in expanding business into North Africa. “For example, if I meet a lot of French and Spanish people then I would be communicating with the Regus country manager of Spain and France, say that there is an interaction between our two countries and we can work together,” he says. “It gives us a great introduction and great support for the flow of enquiries.”
The most important thing to communicate, for Abou-Zeinab, is giving businesses of all sizes the awareness of how Regus can support them to expand: “Everyone, every investor, is coming to these events to grow,” he explains. “We can support such investors with the number of locations that we have. My key message is where we can support them and help them and ensure that they are in line with their plan.”
With the addition of Gabon later this year, Regus’s parent company IWG will have a presence in 21 African countries.
The event’s host country of Morocco has been a key strategic area for IWG in recent years, thanks to high government investment in infrastructure and exciting developments including the opening of the Al-Boraq, Africa’s first bullet train, which runs between Tangier, business hub Casablanca and the country’s capital, Rabat.
“It previously used to take six hours by car,” says Abou-Zeinab. “Now it is two hours. So this brings new opportunities to a lot of investors coming from Spain, which is 14km by sea. Also, the King recently opened a new Renault factory, so all those French cars will now be developed in Morocco. Airbus now manufactures its spare parts in Morocco.”
To support all this rapid development, Regus has been expanding. A Regus centre opened in Rabat in January 2019 is now running at 95% occupancy, says Abou-Zeinab, and more will come. “The demand is high, and I want to give an opportunity to all the African countries to exchange their goods.”
Another country of particular strategic importance to Regus is Egypt, says Abou-Zeinab. “Firstly, a new president has been elected so the country is very stable,” he explains. “This will provide a lot of opportunities for investors to come and invest in Egypt. As well as this, Egypt is building a new city, New Cairo – a brand-new city from scratch. It will be completed in two years’ time, and all of the banks will be there, with all brand-new infrastructure.”
Egypt is a hub for both African and Arab investors, thanks to its stability, development and, of course, geography.
Two weeks ago, Google announced the opening of its first office in Egypt. Where? In an IWG centre. With expansion from such high-profile firms leading the way, North African and foreign firms alike are increasingly opting to take the convenient and flexible route – serviced office space with Regus.
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