This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Egypt is very robust, with a growth rate higher than Egypt’s overall level of GDP growth, equivalent to 16% in fiscal year 2020/2021 compared to 15.2%in year 2019/2020. Its contribution to the GDP has increased to 5% in fiscal year 2020/2021 compared to 4.4% in 2019/2020. Total investments in the sector in year 2020/2021 has reached almost $3 billion.
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 launched in 2020 “Our Digital Opportunity” initiate to engage with 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 New Administrative Capital (NAC), 30 miles east of central Cairo, is expected to eventually house most central government offices, with a target move-in date of mid-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. The first phase of “Knowledge City,” which will be located inside the NAC, is completed. It 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). Within the city, they are planning to establish Creative Innovation Hubs that will provide technical assistance to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
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.
In June 2020, the Egyptian government announced a plan to improve the infrastructure for internet services by increasing the average internet speed. By April 2021, internet speed had reached an average of 39.6 Mbps from 6.5 Mbps in January 2019.
An investment of around 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($63 million) to update mobile networks in the main roads and areas within Egypt. Also, new frequencies were allocated to mobile network operators with a budget of $1.17 billion. A National Center for ICT Services Quality Control and Monitoring was established to govern cell phone services and protect users.
Decent Life (Haya Karima) is a presidential initiative to raise the efficiency of the telecommunication infrastructure in villages. This initiative has 3 main pillars: connecting villages with fiber optic cables for better internet speed and stability to will cover one million homes; developing 906 post offices that will include ATM machines; and improving telecommunication services by creating cell phone stations in those villages.
Recent Market Trends:
Due in part to the Covid-19 outbreak, Egypt has witnessed as 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 (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.
Part of Vision 2030 is to increase localization through increasing the local content. Therefore, several multinational companies provide raw material and cooperate with local entities to have an assembly line in Egypt. This increases the chances to win government tenders and provides the localization added value to the proposals.
Best Prospects for U.S. Exporters:
- Smart Cities Solutions
- E-Education software
- E-Finance applications
- Artificial Intelligence
- Surveillance equipment
- Telecommunication infrastructure
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is open for suggestions, recommendations, new technologies and processes. The Ministry and ITIDA are open to suggestions and proposals especially in the areas of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence area.
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 July 2020. It follows the GDPR.
There are other regulations under discussion such as data classification and data localization.
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 2022 (TBC)
Commercial Specialist in charge of the ICT sector: Dina Bissada