By Scott Lehr, CFE, Senior Vice President, U.S. & International Development, International Franchise Association
Libya was not even on the list of countries that the U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to the Middle East was stopping at but Ann Bacher, Regional Counselor of Commercial Affairs for Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordon and Lebanon of the U.S. Commercial Service had connections. Ann’s connections and interest in advancing Libya led Behzed Daniel Ferdows of Mammut Technocrete to Cairo to meet with international franchise company executives participating in the trade mission.
Daniel’s businesses, based in Dubai, UAE are focused in the building and construction industries, primarily steel and concrete. He had a particular interest in one company participating in the trade mission but had other interests that included food and perhaps education. Daniel’s connection with Libya stems from his wife who is from Tripoli. Libya is currently undergoing political reconstruction, after the civil war and NATO led military invasion in 2011 and the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
As Daniel said “We want to be involved in the rebuilding of the country and they need everything, food and restaurants, education, construction and equipment, you name it…there is opportunity for those that get in early”. Daniel and his sister in law will be meeting with a number of the franchisors from the trade mission while in Cairo and may attend the International Franchise Expo in New York, NY in June to meet with other franchisors willing to step into the market.
For now, there are only a few U.S. Brands in Libya, which include Cinnabon which is reported to be doing very well. Johnny Rockets is also there but the first location is not open yet. We will see what the future brings for U.S. Franchise Brands in Libya.