This case on EQI is the beautiful Egyptian oasis of Siwa is one of two cases I have written on family hotel business. The other is the case on the Eco-Fairy Castle in Argentina. The case introduces Mounir Neamatalla, President of the private Egyptian firm Environmental Quality International (EQI), who has invested in a sustainable development project in the beautiful Siwa oasis, near the Egyptian-Libyan border. EQI’s approach is to draw on the old wisdom, traditional skills and creativity of the local community, and complement them with modern know-how to develop Siwa into a model of sustainable development that can serve as a source of inspiration for other communities around the world. The case describes the Egyptian political system and economy, introduces the ancient oasis of Siwa, and presents EQI’s component projects, which comprise three hotels, a line of embroidered products and traditional jewellery, and the export of organic produce. This case is a component of the author’s case series (with MAS and Danfoss in China) on crafting corporate policies to local conditions. The central question raised is: what do we mean by development? Many Siwans consider that their ancient culture risks being swept away in a tide of ‘modernisation’, but they also recognise that the oasis can no longer stand aside from the modern world. What can / should be preserved, and what chances of success for EQI, for Siwa, and for the rest of us? The case is accompanied by a teaching note.
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