Egypt needs to improve competition in IT sector: UN

Marwa Hussein, Wednesday 26 Oct 2011

Global body praises Egypt's deregulation of the telecoms sector and improvements in broadband availability but says the sector still faces challenges

Egypt internet
UN praises Egypt's broadband availability and mobile penetration (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt could emerge as a major player in the global information economy if it increases competition and upgrades its infrastructure, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said on Wednesday.

Its statement followed a special session on information technology attended by Mohamed Salem, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology at UNCTAD headquarters in Geneva.
On 14 October, the UN body issued an Information Communications and Technology (ICT) policy review for Egypt praising steps towards liberalisation the country has already undertaken.
"In terms of ICT diffusion, Egypt made great progress between 2008 and 2010”, reads the report, praising a number of policies and initiatives Egypt took to improve its IT infrastructure and markets.
The UN body welcomed the partial deregulation of the telecoms sector and improvements in broadband availability, especially in main cities and connected industries.
Also praised was the high penetration of mobile phone use and the special telecom services used by gated communities around Cairo.
But UNCTAD secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi noted the Review was concluded before January's revolution and did "not take into consideration the implications of recent political events in Egypt”.
Among UNCTAD's recommendations to Egypt to improve the ITC sector were to become more responsive to market demands and promote greater competition and infrastructure sharing.
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