Egypt

The ICT infrastructure

Telecoms:

Egypt is at the crossroads of several global fiber-optic backbone cables and is in a unique position to leverage this resource for content distribution in the MENA region and beyond. A fiber-optic backbone network now runs the length of Egypt along the Nile.

Egypt adopted a number of policies and initiatives that assisted in making a good basis for the ICT market in Egypt. Mobile signals now cover 99.7 per cent of Egypt. Fixed and mobile broadband connectivity has been extended to urban and peri-urban areas. International Internet bandwidth has increased by more than 40 per cent from the 2009 to 2010, and reached 142 Gbps as of December 2010.

Media:

As regards the broadcasting sector, Egypt operates its own communication satellite system which is well-known as Nilesat. Nilesat takes a form of an Egyptian joint stock company established in 1996 by public and private entities for the purpose of operating Egyptian satellites and their associated control stations and uplinking facilities. In this regard, it is worth noting that the current issued capital of Nilesat is approx. USD 187 million (one hundred and eighty seven thousand millions United States dollars).

Nilesat operates four (4) satellites as follows: (the “Egyptian Satellite System“)

  • Nilesat 101 was launched in April 1998 for the purpose of providing digital communications and terrestrial Direct-to-Home (“DTH”) TV, radio broadcasting, multimedia and data services for countries in the MENA region and South Europe;
  • Nilesat 201 was launched in August 2000 for the purpose of providing digital communications and terrestrial DTH TV, radio broadcasting, multimedia and data services for countries in the Arab World and South Europe;
  • Nilesat 102 (also known as Atlantic Bird 4) was launched in September 2005 upon an agreement between Nilesat and Eutelsat to lease capacity on Eutelsat’s Hot Bird 4 satellitee after relocating to 7° West and renaming it Nilesat 103; and
  • Nilesat 201 was launched in August 2010 for the purpose of delivering digital DTH TV and radio broadcasting and high-speed data transmission services to the MENA region.

The Egyptian Satellite System broadcasts at least 600 TV channels and more than 100 digital radio channels uplinked from either from Egypt or outside Egypt.

Nilesat viewership in the MENA region has shown steady growth, from 11 million households in 2003 to more than 40 million households in 2009. Nilesat enjoys the highest viewership in the MENA region according to the most recent surveys in 2010, about 95% of the household in the MENA region.

ICT-relevant human capital:

Egypt has been ranked among the top ten emerging economies for its IT skills. Egypt got this rank as a result of adopting and implementing of various programs and initiatives through several institutions to support a new generation of ICT engineers and technicians in particular for the information technology outsourcing and business process outsourcing sectors. These programs were adopted by Egypt for the purpose of strengthening the relationship between the ICT industry and academic and research institutions to increase the flow of trained individuals into the labour market and launch specialized capacity-building and certified programs addressing the needs of individuals, institutions and industry.

Following the implementation of aforementioned programs and initiatives, the number of graduates who receive formal training in the ICT has increased significantly since 2006, when there were about 27,000 graduates. As of May 2010, there were close to 40,000 formally trained ICT graduates. In 2009, Egypt graduated about 330,000 students from its universities: 14,000 in science, 63,000 in commerce and 17,000 in engineering. Another 24,000 English speaking graduates become potentially available for the BPO sector every year, along with 2,500-3,000 French, 1,200-1,600 Italian, 800-1,000 German and 300-400 Spanish speaking graduates. The availability of trained technical staff graduating from Egyptian universities is expected to meet market demand for the coming several years.

According to the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (the “ITIDA”), there will be a talent surplus for at least the next five years that should sustain the current ICT outsourcing growth rate of 30-40 per cent.

Egypt has achieved significant success in establishing itself as a recognized location for Business Outsourcing Services. According to A.T. Kearney’s Global Services Location Index, Egypt climbed from 12th position in 2007 to 4th in 2011. Other reports confirm this trend. Egypt’s main strengths in this context are its geographic location, relatively low costs of doing business, a proactive and supportive business environment, an active and well-financed program to support the offshoring industry, and a young, well-trained and multilingual work force. Another asset has long been the strong support from the highest political level. This has helped to ensure good coordination between different players involved in promoting the sector.