Egyptian communications minister says EGP130bn needed to develop ICT sector

7 May 2014

Egypt’s communications minister Atef Helmy has claimed that more than EGP130 billion (USD18.5 billion) needs to be spent in order to develop the country’s communications and information technology (IT) infrastructure by 2020. With the state said to have made plans for three national projects aimed at enhancing the sector, Daily News Egypt cites the minister as saying: ‘The investment of the government will not exceed 15%, as the projects will mainly rely on the investments of the private companies.’

The first of the national projects is said to relate to enhancing access to high speed internet services, and with the first phase of this expected to be completed by 2017 and the second phase by 2020, around EGP45 billion has been earmarked for this programme. Meanwhile, with regards to the second project, Mr Helmy was simply cited as saying: ‘By 2020, around EGP30 billion will be needed to develop the infrastructure for the high speed internet project.’ Rounding out its plans, the third project is apparently intended to make communications devices more accessible to the Egyptian population, with around EGP9 billion expected to be set aside for this scheme.

With these projects in place, Mr Helmy has suggested that they could contribute to GDP growth rising from 4% this year to 7% by 2020, while between them some one million job opportunities are expected to be created by 2020, of which 200,000 will be direct.

In separate but related news, UK-based Vodafone Group is said to have revealed plans to invest around EGP9 billion in its Egyptian unit. Such investment, it is claimed, will create around 3,000 job opportunities by 2017. In announcing its future spending plans, Vodafone was also said to have confirmed that its investments in Egypt over the last 15 years totalled some EGP30 billion.