Egypt: Government to launch IT free zone in SCZONE


In a significant move towards digital transformation and technological advancement, the Egyptian government has unveiled its plans to establish a free zone for communications and information technology (IT) in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE). The initiative, outlined in the ‘Strategic Directions for the Egyptian Economy’ document, aims to position Egypt among the top 10 countries globally in the cybersecurity index by 2030 and enhance its standing in the Network Readiness Index.

Fiber Optic Cable Production and Connectivity:

One of the key elements of the plan involves boosting the production of fiber optic cables through the establishment of 20 factories. The goal is to connect all government buildings with fiber optics, transforming Egypt into a regional hub for fiber optic cable manufacturing. This strategic move not only caters to the local market but also targets increased exports, particularly to African nations.

Network Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Goals:

The government has set ambitious targets for the IT sector, intending to elevate its contribution to the GDP to at least 7%, a substantial increase from the 3.4% reported in the fiscal year 2021/2022. Moreover, the plan includes expanding the number of mobile towers to 45,000 by 2030, a significant jump from the 31,000 towers at the end of 2023.

Cybersecurity is a focal point, with aspirations to rank Egypt among the top 10 countries globally in this domain by 2030. Currently positioned in the top 30, the government is actively pursuing strategies to enhance its cybersecurity infrastructure and capabilities.

Digital and Sustainable Society:

The ‘Strategic Directions’ document outlines the government’s vision for a digital and sustainable society by 2030. Plans include completing the development of Egypt’s digital services system, automating state administrative processes, and establishing a closed government network connecting all government buildings. The government also aims to provide certain services digitally, such as electronic visa issuance and a digital insurance system for foreigners.

Encouraging Foreign Investments and Technological Innovation:

To further bolster the IT sector, the government is offering facilities and incentives for foreign companies to manufacture smartphones and tablets within Egypt. The Electronics Innovation Center in the New Administrative Capital has already attracted 26 foreign and local companies specializing in electronic design and integrated software.

Investments and Workforce Development:

In line with its growth targets, the government plans to increase investments in the IT sector by 49% in the fiscal year 2023/2024. This boost is expected to contribute to raising the sector’s output to EGP 346 billion, maintaining its position as the fastest-growing sector for five consecutive years. Additionally, the government aims to double the number of IT trainees to one million by 2030, emphasizing the importance of workforce development in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Egypt’s ambitious IT initiatives signal a commitment to becoming a technological powerhouse in the region. With a comprehensive strategy encompassing infrastructure development, cybersecurity enhancement, and workforce training, the government aims to propel the IT sector to new heights, fostering innovation and economic growth in the digital era. The success of these initiatives will not only redefine Egypt’s technological landscape but also position the country as a global player in the IT and communications sector.

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