Egypt PM pushes Apple to establish a ‘hub’ in the country and help with education reform

Last month, regulators in Egypt gave Apple 60 days to address “unfair restrictions” over high iPhone prices in the country. In an interview with CNBC today, Egypt Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that he is pushing Apple to establish a “hub” in the country and work on education reform, despite the ongoing iPhone pricing controversy.

Madbouly said that he discussed this idea with Apple representatives at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. Currently, Apple exists through “indirect agents” in Egypt, according to the prime minister, but he wants that presence to evolve into something bigger:

“I think Egypt is a big market and attractive for Apple to exist in directly. Apple has been in Egypt but through indirect agents, suppliers … But really, we discussed yesterday (with Apple), the idea really (is) to have Apple be in Egypt to be one of its industrial hubs and a destination to serve the whole region,” the prime minister told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Further, Madbouly added that he would like to work with Apple on reforming Egypt’s education system. Egypt is putting a heavy focus on technology in education, and Madbouly believes Apple could play a big role:

“With our very ambitious program in reforming education, and how we are introducing now the technology for our students and children, and I believe here Apple can play a substantial role in that respect.”

Madbouly’s comments about hoping to work closely with Apple come as Egypt’s Competition Authority last month gave Apple a 60-day window to resolve “unfair restrictions over marked up phones” in the country. In Egypt, the iPhone costs as much as 50 percent higher than in other Middle Eastern countries.

The Competition Authority believes that Apple is breaking the law by prohibiting its Middle Eastern distributor from selling to local distributors in Egypt. Apple has yet to publicly comment on the accusations. Details on what sort of punishment Apple might face if it doesn’t address the issue within 60 days are unclear, with the Competition Authority simply threatening legal action.

Tim Cook is in Davos this week at the World Economic Forum. He was pictured at dinner yesterday with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, as well as Brazilian President  Bolsonaro.

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