Moving Towards a Digital Egypt
Egypt might be known worldwide for its rich historical heritage and Ancient Egyptian civilization, but today the country’s focus is on a highly connected and highly digitized future, one that promises the digitization of many aspects of Egyptians’ everyday life as they know it.
The Egyptian government has set in motion Digital Egypt, an all-encompassing vision that is handling the country’s digital transformation into a modern, connected society with a robust digital economy and the products & services that complement it. In line with Egypt Vision 2030, the nationwide movement towards digital includes the Central bank of Egypt, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), and many more leading governmental institutions that are spearheading the change in a variety of areas.
Banking and the finance industry is one such area that has witnessed tremendous innovation in the last few years, spanning from the Central Bank of Egypt’s launch of its official financial technology platform FinTech Egypt that aims to foster and connect all FinTech ecosystem stakeholders to the myriad of budding and blooming FinTech startups, accelerators, incubators, and entrepreneurial innovators that are constantly creating relevant and convenient financial solutions for consumers across all demographics. Today, many underserved and underbanked segments of society are benefitting from financial inclusion efforts exerted by the Egyptian government in collaboration with private entities to grant all Egyptians the modern capabilities that were once considered as an obstacle for some of them.
FinTech entrepreneurs, startups, financial institutions, regulatory institutions, service providers, investors, mentors, and policymakers are all working towards harnessing the power of digital finance to accelerate development and improve the lives of all Egyptians in the process.
The education sector is also witnessing major shifts in digitizing their teaching methods and creating a digital ecosystem that students of all ages can take advantage of. Efficient and highly affordable scholarship programs like ITIDA’s egFWD are a prime example of empowering the Egyptian youth to upskill their careers and follow their ambitions on an international basis through offering specialized courses in collaboration with Udacity.
Leading educational institutions such as Nahdet Misr and others provide digital solutions for enhancing education in Egypt, offering interactive curricula for a range of grades, in the form of animations, infographics, e-learning platforms, and interactive e-books, and much more.
Even history and Ancient Egypt are not exempt from the ongoing nationwide digital transformation; the brand-new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is set to open its doors to the public in 2021. Considered to be the largest archaeological museum in the world to date, the GEM will supposedly have state-of-the-art technological applications implemented inside it, including an application for virtual reality, which is yet to be disclosed. The museum will also act as an international communication hub between other local and international museums, bridging history and the future through technology in the present.
The Egyptian mega project to undergo a complete digital overhaul is following certain measures as part of the transformation strategy, broadly encompassed in infrastructure development, human capital investment, digital entrepreneurship support, and creation of a conducive business environment. These measures are preceded by three main pillars on which the digitizing of Egypt is being built: digital transformation, digital skills and jobs, and digital innovation. These three cornerstones of future Egypt are being developed to solidify and diversify the country’s economy by boosting technological knowledge, creating the required highly skilled and specialized workforce to materialize this knowledge, and fostering innovation on a national level to elevate the transformation to unprecedented levels. Investments have already been underway for a few years now, mainly focusing on improving the current ICT infrastructure to support the full digitization process in a seamless manner, as well as focusing on educating the youth and equipping them with the latest tools and technical know-how to align their career goals with modern times.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has also accelerated these digital efforts as its unexpected global impact resulted in many businesses of all sizes being affected on a national level. However, organizations soon acknowledged the many benefits of going digital, and digital adoption became the way forward for many businesses in Egypt during that time. Automated services, smart technologies, and the prevalence of social media and similar platforms as a successful medium for communication and conducting business have revealed many gaps in the traditional way of doing things, and so the digital ecosystem has seen wider adoption by institutions that could have been previously reluctant to hop on the tech train, all in anticipation of the ongoing and upcoming digital transformation that promises to improve the lives and livelihood of all Egyptians, as well as bolster Egypt’s economic growth by modernizing its entire economy through the provision of a multitude of value creation opportunities on a local, regional and international level.