Many information and communications technology (ICT) sector experts believe there are many investment opportunities available in this sector.
The mechanisation of public services, the internet and the establishment of smart villages are foremost on the list of investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market.
Hamdy Ellaithy, CEO of Linatel for Telecommunications, said the local ICT market includes many investment opportunities which can attract foreign capital. The Suez Canal Axis is potentially one of the most prominent opportunities on the scene, as it is an attractive site for the technology market.
Ellaithy added that the Suez Canal Axis Development Project can be utilised through the establishment of data centres, dependent on the 17 maritime Internet cables that pass through Egypt. He believes that the smart village projects are among the most recent models for attracting investments. This is especially as their launch will develop sectors such as construction, real estate and information technology, which are the sectors that mostly attract investments to the market worldwide. It is of note that the Ministry of Communications’ strategy includes five technological smart villages in Assiut, Aswan, Beni Suef, Borg El-Arab and Alexandria, and Sadat City, with an investment value reaching EGP 23bn.
He added that the public services sector is currently one of the most prominent investment opportunities. This is because many services, particularly those for education and health, need to be mechanised. At the Economic Summit held in Sharm El-Sheikh in March, the Ministry of Communications launched a project mechanising land registry offices, with investments reaching EGP 650m.
Yehia Tharwat, CEO of Link Egypt, sees the public services sector as the topmost ICT market investment opportunity, especially as large public sectors should be mechanised, and provide an excellent opportunity for ICT companies.
Abdel Rahman El-Sawy, head of the Industry Representatives Committee of National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), sees the ICT market as still capable of attracting investments, despite facing difficult circumstances recently.
El-Sawy believes there are many investment opportunities in the Internet sector and the plan to spread broadband services. This matter should not depend only on media statements made by public officials – on the contrary, these officials should take more serious steps.
He added that mobile applications addressing government services are a good investment opportunity, as part of the government sector’s need for several mechanisation projects. El-Sawy added that this provides a huge investment opportunity, especially as the government is the biggest buyer in the market.
Osman Abou El-Nasr, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Nokia Siemens in North Africa, agreed, adding that the Egyptian market has many investment opportunities during this period, regardless of the obstacles. He stressed that there are many good opportunities in 4G/LTE technology for the communication services.
For his part, Hesham Abd Al-Ghaffar, Regional Sales Director at Polaroid MENA, said the IT market is the richest market in terms of investment opportunities. This is especially in the outsourcing and exporting software sector, in light of the availability of trained manpower, and the advantage Egyptian outsourcing companies have in terms of service costs, compared to their counterparts in India and Eastern Europe.
Abd Al-Ghaffar believes the electronic industries sector is also one of the most important investment opportunities in the market, in light of the significant growth in smartphones and tablets sales in the Egyptian market. He added that it is easy to launch production lines to assemble these devices, especially as there are many experienced companies in Egypt, which makes them qualified for the job. He demanded that this is placed among the general plan to develop the Suez Canal region.
Wael Amin, founder of ITWorx, believes the ICT sector includes many investment opportunities in the Egyptian market, especially as many sectors, whether industrial or service, are always in need of ICT services. Amin explained that this need creates an attractive market, whether in the fields of enhancing education, new and renewable energy solutions, or health.
Khalid Ibrahim, Chairman of the Chamber of Information Technology, said the Egyptian market is full of investment opportunities with regards to the electronics industry. In the past few years, Egypt has started to attract new investments in the field through the Samsung factory in Upper Egypt.
Moreover, engineering industries exports increased from $1.2bn to $2bn in the last year, thanks to Egypt’s geographic location and its trade agreements with other countries. This enhances the reach of Egyptian-made products, which can now reach more than 2 billion people worldwide at no additional cost.