Egypt - Country Commercial Guide
eCommerce

Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and, reputable, prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2020-09-15

Egypt’s Electronic Signature Law 15 of 2004 established the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to act as the e-signature regulatory authority and to further develop the information technology sector in Egypt. An e-government initiative has been implemented to increase government efficiency, reduce service-provision time, establish new service-delivery models, reduce government expenses and encourage e-procurement. In 2009, the government implemented the e-signature service, allowing public and private companies to offer e-signature authentication.

In 2018, the Egyptian Government, along with the United Nations, updated the e-commerce strategy. The strategy focuses on leveraging Egypt’s key strengths and reducing the challenges. Those challenges include the telecommunication infrastructure, and services, logistics and trade facilitation, legal and regulatory environment, e-payments and e-procurement, e-commerce platforms, taxation, skills development, and awareness raising.

Moreover, as part of Egypt’s Vision 2030 “Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS), the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has launched an ICT strategy. This strategy supports the development of the sector and its contributions to economic growth through initiatives that encourage, among other things, e-commerce and e-government, electronics design and digital manufacturing and talent and human resources development.

The Egyptian market has the largest population of internet users in the MENA region. Egypt’s Internet penetration is expected to reach 53.5 million in 2019, of which 8% make regular online transactions. Most online transactions are in the categories of electronics, entertainment, airline tickets and fashion. E-commerce faces numerous challenges in the Egyptian market: there is a low number of credit/debit card holders - around 10 million - hence 80 percent of e-commerce in Egypt relies on cash on delivery. However, the rate of credit card issuance is growing annually by around 40 percent, which indicates that cash dependency may decrease.

In 2020, as a new pandemic has hit the world and enforced social distancing, most businesses started operating remotely. This has expedited the move of strengthening the digital transformation and made the Egyptian government work on more measures to ensure a smooth yet effective more as well as drive Egypt into becoming a leading regional center for telecommunications and IT industry. In Upper Egypt, 8 technology parks will be completed and operational in 2020 to help the small SMEs and entrepreneurs work on finding solutions for the digitalization to be effective. It will also include training institutions, integrated systems, and startups incubators, hardware design labs, training halls for Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, and cybersecurity. Moreover, a Knowledge City is currently under development in the New Administrative Capital and first phase should be completed by the end of 2020. This city will serve as a hub for research and innovation centers specialized in advanced technologies, such as AI, Internet of Things (IoT), and embedded systems. It will also include all the ICT industry elements including international and local ICT companies, training centers, technology incubators and business accelerators.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is currently working as well on providing 36 electronic services for private businesses starting July 2020 including changing the company activities, adding board members or other modifications needed. Moreover, e-signatures will be approved to facilitate and expedite several investment transactions as well as filing lawsuits.