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Egypt’s plan to tap into telecoms and increase GDP

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Egypt , 01 Feb 2021

Egypt intends to revamp its telecommunications and technology, through increased investment flows and cooperation with countries such as Belarus and increase the amount the industry contributes towards the country’s GDP.

Buoyed by fast growth rates for the ICT sector in the past two years, the North African country is seeking closer cooperation with Belarus for tech systems and platforms such as cyber-security.

Egypt’s ICT Minister, Amr Talaat, said yesterday that the government has set a target which will see telecommunications contribute up to 8% to GDP in the next three years from the current 4.4%.

“ICT is the fastest growing sector in Egypt in previous financial year (2019/2020). We are targeting a growth rate of almost 16 percent in the current financial year (2020/2021),” said Talaat.

Growth rates in tech industry have averaged about 15.2% in 2019 and 2020.

Investments have also been flowing into telecommunications at around US$3-billion, riding on growth rates of as much as 35% over the same period in terms of investment inflows.

Talaat wants to bump this up to 40% in the current fiscal year.

While the outbreak of COVID-19 has fuelled consumption of telecommunications services, it has also impacted on service quality and prompted the communications authority to carry out a service quality assessment in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Reports show that in 35 of the 81 regions where service quality tests for voice services recorded poor quality on the Vodafone Egypt network.

For Etisalat, 45 areas were affected by poor quality voice services, including major cities of Cairo and Alexandria.

However, this did not deter Egyptians from using telecom network services, especially during the period of intense lock-downs in 2020. During this period, telecom consumption rates rose to 99%, according to Talaat.

“We are now witnessing another peak of the pandemic and the rates of consumption (of telecom services) are surpassing the first wave,” he said.

Telecom Egypt has just been confirmed as having the fastest internet speeds, according to Ookla.

Managing Director Adel Hamed said the company had attained internet speeds of up to 32.66Mbps on the back of “an unprecedented surge in data demand”.

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