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People & Power
Coffee in Cairo
Starbucks is launching its first chain in Cairo. But can it replace traditional Egyptian culture, like sheesha smoking?
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2007 15:32 GMT

Starbucks is moving into Egypt, but
can it outdo the successful Cilantro chain?
Starbucks has become a name synonymous with coffee. But that is not the case everywhere. Egypt, for example, was Starbucks free ... until now. So far its residents have existed on a diet of sheesha and local coffee.

Howard Schultz's Starbucks seems to be unstoppable – it has grown far beyond its original marketing target of 2000 outlets by the year 2000. In fact, in 2005 it had 12,000 stores in 37 countries - accounting for a turnover of $6.37 billion.

But success might not be so easy in Cairo. Two young Egyptian entrepreneurial upstarts may stand in their way. In 2000, long before the advent of Starbucks in the country, they started a coffee chain, Cilantro – which swiftly grew to 21 stores. 

People & Power examines just how an indigenous coffee culture is challenging the imperial ambition of an American coffee mogul.

This episode of People & Power aired from 20 June 2007

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