Why Egypt’s textile sector could not reach to the world level it deserves

Interview with Ilknur Biyik Ahmed

Commercial Director at Ministry of Public Sector, Cotton & Textile Industries Holding

By: Kohan Textile Journal


  1. 1. Please let us know more details about your Biography, experience and background in textile industry and Egypt.

I am a Turkish citizen, born and raised in Istanbul where I have also started my textile career almost 25 years ago. Working for garment factories and buying offices mainly producing for European buyers such as M&S, Kickers, Harod’s, Fisher, Hallhuber, Marc Aurel etc in Turkey, I was a Sr Merchandiser when moved to Cairo in 2000 for family reunion.

Also in Egypt, I have worked for major textile producers and buyers which have carried me to the position of country manager and finally Commercial Director for RMG for the biggest textile project in the Middle East by Ministry of Public Business Sector, Egypt.

  1. Let us know about Services that you offer to textile manufacturers and traders in the Ministry of Public Sector, Cotton & Textile Industries Holding

Reconstructing textile production facilities (30 different factories) belong to the Ministry of Public Business Sector of Egypt has kicked off 3 years ago with a consultancy agreement with Werner International. Main outline of the project to merge current 30 factories into 9 while keeping Egyptian Cotton as the #1 raw material and products from yarn to fabric, finished home-textiles to apparel products both in woven and knits. The budget of the project is over 2Billion USD and production is to start 2nd quarter 2022 and gradually reach full capacity by the end of same year.

  1. How do you evaluate Egypt textile sector in general?

Egypt has always played a critical role in world trade owing to its geographic status, connecting 3 continents with close access to all. But since the 80’s absence of many raw materials and supply chain depending on imported goods, Egypt’s textile sector could not reach to the world level it deserves.

Here, project of ministry will play a very important role in bringing fully integrated facilities to life. It won’t only accelerate the textile trade figures both in local market and exports of Egypt but it will also energize the competition to bring the sector to world standards.

  1. How do you evaluate Turkish investment in the Egypt textile industry? how many Turkish companies are active in Egypt?

Turkey and Egypt share a rich history and the beautiful, friendly characteristics of the Mediterranean, two countries always had close ties for centuries. Seeing the advantages of logistics, cheap energy sources and low wages, many Turkish producers have built facilities in all around Egypt with the strong support of the Egyptian government.

Most of these companies have expended or expended their investments in the country due to Egypt’s ongoing success both in the economy and international politics.

  1. What is Egypt Textile and Garment industry Potentials and advantages in the international market?

Due to its unique and functional location on world map, Egypt has always been important for traders, merchants throughout human history. However, logistics isn’t all about Egypt, being rich in natural sources, especially having the Nile that brings prosperity to the land, Egypt has always been an internationally important spot.

Overcoming the supply-chain bottleneck in textile industry with the giant step taken by Ministry of Public Business Sector will help Egypt to increase its exports of all sort of textile products. Besides, unfortunate results of pandemic have changed and will change the dynamics of world business where Egypt will be a major player because it’s distance to main buyers plus many FTAs with US, EU & African countries.

  1. Recently Egypt government launch a new project to run the biggest cotton yarn spinning factory in the world. What do you think about the Egyptian government support in textile industry?

As mentioned above, the Ministry of Public Business Sector, with personal support of HE Minister Hesham Tawfik, Egypt will have the biggest textile complex in middle east. Within the project from ginning to cut/sew whole manufacturing will be under one roof.

Besides the up to date machinery, very well planned facility constructions and digital production systems, Ministry has built a private company (ECH) for all commercial activities of group of companies and hired directors from the private sector with a minimum 20 years of experience in the international textile business, in order to add the world-class commercial proficiency and understanding to the project.

  1. As a textile Expert in Egypt, how do you evaluate textile and fashion industry in Middle East and Africa and its potentials for Future?

Today besides individual abilities of textile supplying countries plus the attractive prices, distance to buyer, quick order execution and sustainable products are vitally important to buyers due to pandemic. Since Egypt has already started a vamp up project in the country before the pandemic, these efforts will pay back as soon as production kicks off. As for the other players in the region, adaptation to the new requirements will be vital and the ones don’t have financial ability or state support will, unfortunately, leave the scene for a long time.

  1. COVID 19 shows us we should rely more on sustainability and green products, how we can improve sustainability in fashion and textile industry?

Consumption of water, waste treatment, eco-friendly produced raw materials are issues textile producers are facing quite harsh due to Covid-19 experience world is going through. We are taking upmost precautions while working on our projects and targeting to be also the most Eco-conscious textile group in the region. While working to build a stronger Egypt in industry and world trade, we could not disregard a better future for Egyptians and the whole world.

As the commercial arm of Egypt and regions biggest textile group, we ECH (Egyptian Cotton Hub) will proudly present our home textile collection made out of 100% Egyptian Cotton at Heimtex Frankfurt January 2022 and would be more than happy to welcome anyone interested.