Egypt - Country Commercial Guide
Information and Communications Technology; and Digital Economy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-09-15

Overview

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Egypt is very robust, with a growth rate higher than Egypt’s level of GDP growth. Its contribution to the GDP has increased to 4% in 2019 compared to 3.5% in 2018. Total investments in the sector increased by 24.3 percent in 2019 and reached $107 million in the first quarter of 2020 (142 investment deals vs 113 in 2018, and 40 in Q1 2020).

Under its ICT 2030 strategy, the Egyptian government is undertaking a series of investments, capacity building and training programs, digital government services reforms, and infrastructure upgrades. The strategy calls for launching new initiatives to maximize the contribution of the ICT sector to Egypt’s economic growth by focusing on capacity building, electronics design and manufacturing, and technology parks. The strategy also includes a plan for the digital transformation of core government services in the following areas: education, healthcare, and government services.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) has an initiative called “Our Future is Digital” and aims to train 100,000 young Egyptians and develop their ICT skills in areas of high market demand, including website design, data analysis, and digital marketing.

The ministry also has a program through which it engages SMEs in the digital transformation process. The ministry’s Digital Egypt Project aims to supply all government entities with fiber-optic cable connections. This process has been completed in 5,300 government buildings across Egypt, and when completed will connect some 32,000 buildings at a total cost of 6 billion Egyptian Pounds (approximately $375 million).

The MCIT announced in June 2020 that the Egyptian government is developing a digital tool that will allow citizens to obtain or renew licenses and request notarial services through call centers using a one-time password system.

The New Administrative Capital (NAC), 50 miles east of central Cairo, is expected to eventually house the majority of central government offices, with a target moving in date of June 2021.  The government is planning for the NAC to be a “Smart City,” and is investing heavily in the new city’s telecommunications and ICT infrastructure. Under the plan, a “Knowledge City,” which will be located inside the NAC, will include applied research centers for technology to facilitate technical training, software and applications development, and data design. The Knowledge City is estimated to cost a total of 12 billion Egyptian Pounds ($750 million).

The Ministry is also working on developing six technology parks in the cities of Minya, Menoufiya, Mansoura, Sohag, Qena and Aswan. These parks are aimed at supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and will consist of hardware design labs, startup incubators and training institutions and integrated systems for AI training, data science, and cybersecurity. The ICT industry in Egypt is managed by MCIT. It oversees the following organizations:  

  • National Telecom Regulatory Authority – NTRA
  • IT Industry Development Agency – ITIDA
  • Egypt Post
  • Information Technology Institute – ITI
  • National Telecommunication Institute – NTI
  • Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage – CULTNAT
  • The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center – TIEC
  • Smart Villages
  • Silicon Waha
  • Technology Development Fund

Current Market Needs:

The government is currently focused on moving towards a digital economy and accelerating the country’s digital transformation, which offer opportunities for ICT companies. The government’s ongoing digital transformation offers U.S. companies with proven technologies and competitive pricing various opportunities.

Telecommunications:

In June 2020, the Egyptian government announced a plan to improve the infrastructure for internet services by increasing the average internet speed to 20 Mbps in 2020 and 40 Mbps in 2021, compared to 15.5 Mbps in 2019.

Recent Market Trends:

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Egypt has witnessed the acceleration of its digital transformation plan. The number of peak hours for internet usage has increased to 15 hours per day from 7 hours per day and the load has increased by 99%. The amount of cellular phone internet usage has increased by 35%, and international calls by 19%. Some applications witnessed a significant increase of usage like: Zoom App 3465%, Telegram 1100%, and YouTube 115%.

In June 2020, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority launched its Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service, which enables mobile telephone subscribers to retain their phone numbers when switching network service providers. This will enhance efficiencies and competitiveness.    

Best Prospects for U.S. Exporters:

  • Smart Cities Solutions
  • E-education software
  • E-Finance applications
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cybersecurity
  • Surveillance equipment
  • Telecommunication infrastructure

Market Entry:

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is open for suggestions, recommendations, new technologies and processes. The government trend is also to encourage localization. Therefore, some assembly lines are currently being developed in cooperation with local entities.

Tenders:

The decision-making entity publishes the tenders on their websites. Sometimes, there is an RFP for certain companies to participate in a project. There is competition, and the procurement system is done through open tenders. Decision makers evaluate the proposals according to the technical and commercial merits of the proposals. Depending on the location and sensitivity of the projects, the decision makers vary from MCIT to Defense entities to SOE. 

 Regulations / Registration Process:

There is a Data Privacy Protection law that was approved by the parliament in August 2020. It follows the GDPR.

Technical Barriers & Tariffs:
There is a free trade agreement with Europe which makes products from European suppliers very competitive as there are no customs applied. Customs and shipping fees of American products makes the comparison challenging.
Upcoming Trade Events:

  • CairoICT
    November 22-25, 2020

Commercial Specialist in charge of the oil and gas sector: Dina Bissada