Egypt is a lower-middle-income country with a mixed economy. The combination of privatization in multiple fields and government planning and regulations to reform the economy has improved the country’s developing status but the effects of these reforms have not reached a population on a wide scale and the public is still facing problems from unemployment and underemployment. The major industries, that provide a large scale of employment, are tourism, media, petroleum, natural gas and agriculture while the ones that generate high revenue are food processing, textiles, chemicals and tourism.
Looking at all the industries that primarily impact the GDP, the effect of the pandemic can be accurately derived. With global trade halted, travel banned and tensions high, the country’s economy is suffered. But there is other primarily industries making it work in these difficult times either with the use of distancing measure or work from home company policies. Whatever might be the case, the Egyptian economy fell from 5.6% to 3.5% in 2020 and the IMF has predicted a 2.8% growth in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. Much of it comes from early preventive measures and focused support to sectors that had a direct impact on the pandemic. Amongst this, the ICT sector has hot up rapidly.
While the demand for various ICT services has shot up rapidly in 2020, this sector was already growing rapidly in the past years to the point of having a higher growth rate than the national GDP, reports the International Trade Administration. The ICT sector contributed 3.5% to the GDP in 2018 and 4% in 2019, the report continues. The government is taking focused interest and steps to train the youth in the ICT market demands of digital market, web design and data analysis. Furthermore, the Smart City project to develop Cairo, the capital of Egypt shows a bright future for the ICT sector as a major contributor to the economy by 2030.
The accelerated efforts to adopt a technological working environment and prepare the next generation of tech-savvy Egyptians has opened a market opportunity for foreign investment and establishment to take advantage of the competitiveness and cost-effective talent.
Conclusively, in the face of the pandemic, the digitalization plans that were already full speed ahead have been accelerated with focused effort. To some extent, this has helped the Egyptian economy face the impact of the global and national shutdown with resilience as people switched up their internet usage from 7 hours per day to 15 per day on an average. And the facts speak for themselves.