One of the country’s biggest magnets for foreign investment, Egypt’s ICT sector is well positioned to enjoy long-term growth. Internet penetration has been growing steadily, thanks to increasing accessibility, rising demand and more diverse content. More than 33m Egyptians access the internet, with broadband connections comprising over 90% of all internet connections. As of mid-2013, internet penetration stood at around 40%. Similarly, demand for IT products and services should continue to rise from the government and private sector alike, though the pace of growth will be linked to economic recovery.
The telecoms sector is one of the most competitive and dynamic parts of the economy. Egypt has 94.5m mobile subscriptions for a population of around 85m, indicating a penetration rate of 113.5%, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The market is internationalised – the three existing GSM operators are all majority foreign-owned, all by large global players, indicating the appeal of the market to the world’s biggest telcos. While other sectors have been hard hit by Egypt’s tumultuous post-revolutionary years, telecommunications companies have continued to invest and expand. The major development of the next year is likely to be the issue of universal licences, which at the time of writing was going ahead despite political uncertainty.
This chapter contains an interview with Ashraf Sabry, CEO, Fawry.