Rules governing Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Egypt

Written By - Nour Moez, Junior Associate
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The new law governing Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Egypt is law no. 149/2019 (the “Law”), this Law was published in the Official Gazette on August 19, 2019 after less than two years of the issuance of the previous law.

The Law was issued to govern NGOs activities and to encourage the establishment of notable international NGOs in Egypt.

What does NGO mean?

NGOs are non-governmental organizations performing non-profit work for the purpose of community development. They are well known for their transparency in disclosing their financial resources, member names, annual balance-sheets, and activities.

What are the advantages of establishing NGOs in Egypt?

  • Exempted from registration fees, taxes, stamp duties, property and customs taxes.
  • Reduced charges on utilities such as water and electricity consumption.

What are the most important changes applied by the new Law?

  • Canceling all imprisonment penalties, and imposed fines between EGP 100,000 and EGP 1 million.
  • Canceling the provision enforcing foreign NGOs to regulate their activities through a national agency.
  • Granting foreigners, who have permanent or temporary residence in Egypt, the right to subscribe in the NGO’s shares with a percentage not exceeding 25%.
  • Granting foreign organizations, the right to establish an NGO in Egypt concerned with its members affairs after obtaining a license from the competent minister.

Are there are any general provisions imposed on NGOs?

  • An NGO must aim to encourage entrepreneurship and voluntary work.
  • NGOs funds shall be treated as public money.
  • NGOs must deal with banks supervised by the Central Bank of Egypt.
  • NGOs shall have the right to receive or raise funds, as long as it is in compliance with Anti-terrorism and Anti-money laundering laws, through a bank transfer, whether from:
  • Egyptian natural persons and legal entities; or
  • Foreign non-governmental organizations authorized to work in Egypt.

However, NGOs must notify the administrative body within 30 days from the date of receiving such funds, and the administrative body has the right to object within the following 60 working-days and block such transfer. If the administrative body does not respond within the 60 days permitted, it shall be deemed as approved.

What are the new obligations imposed on Foreign NGOs?

  • Foreign NGOs activities must be consistent with Egyptian society’s priorities & needs.
  • Spending its money in transparency and in accordance with the rules governing the NGO activity in Egypt and prohibiting the use of its headquarters in achieving unauthorized activities.
  • Foreign NGO’s may, upon the approval of the competent minister, send or transfer any funds or donations to a person, organization or entity abroad.
  • NGO employees shall be subject to Egyptian labor law and the Egyptian courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.