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Digital Egypt

Digital transformation is an undeniable goal at the forefront of every developing market’s agenda, as it aims to enhance, update, and develop all sectors and facilitate doing business.  This includes improving the efficiency of institutions, and bodies, and facilitating access to their services in a manner consistent with the global digitalization trend in moving from a paper-based work environment to electronic systems to achieve sustainable development at all levels.

The concept of a digital economy is heavily reliant on appropriate technology being introduced to all government sectors and companies. This must be coupled with a solid infrastructure and quality hardware, software, and networks, in addition to digital mechanisms through which business and economic activities such as e-commerce and payment processing can take place.

Recently, the country’s government has introduced a comprehensive overhaul plan to transform all aspects of Egyptian society, into a fully integrated digital society, wherein citizens can carry out a range of procedures digitally. 

For perspective, the growth rate of the communications and information technology sector has in recent years reached 16%, while the sector’s contribution to the GDP reached 5% compared to previous years. Furthermore, the percentage of digital exports has also increased by 25%, after the state’s allocation of 60 billion EGP to improve the quality of digital services and internet speed. This led Egypt to top the list of African countries on the world index for internet quality in January 2022, recording an average speed of 35.67 Mbps.

Additionally, the Egypt postal system has also progressed after signing a cooperation protocol with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for the issuance of the unified card for citizens, to facilitate citizens’ access to government services. It has also won, for the second year in a row, the Universal Postal Union award for international excellence.

Moreover, digitalization has made great progress in the customs sector, resulting in the average customs release time being reduced by 50% after the implementation of the Unified Electronic Platform for National Trade, which connects all ports electronically. This has also allowed the trading community to reduce their costs by approximately $400 per shipment.

Within the tax sector, Egypt was one of the first countries in Africa and the Middle East to implement the electronic invoice system. Today, more than 52000 companies are registered in the electronic invoice system, and more than 43000 companies have activated their accounts. These changes also shed light on over 15000 cases of tax evasion, adding approximately 6 billion Egyptian pounds to the state’s public treasury.

In preparation for these changes, legislation has been introduced to govern digitalization crimes, such as Law No. 175 of 2018 on Combating Information Technology Crimes, and Law No. 151 of 2020 on the Protection of Personal Data (which protects electronically processed personal data for citizens during its collection, storage or processing) as well as Intellectual Property, Consumer Protection, and the Electronic Signature law.

To conclude, this article aims to highlight the country’s initiatives to completely digitalize its economy in an unprecedented manner, thus improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government performance, the quality of services provided to citizens, and enhancing governance and transparency across all sectors.

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Written By

Noor Mahdy - Attorney at Law

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