Egypt on Friday unveiled a new plan at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva to double the number of businesses selling products and services online by 2020 in an effort to expand the country's e-commerce sector.
The strategy was developed in cooperation between Egypt's Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology and UNCTAD.
According to UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, Shamika Sirimanne, the national strategy aims at leveraging e-commerce to create jobs, increase competitiveness and increase the nation's wealth through economic growth.
It also aims to raise business-to-business e-commerce volume from the current 0.5 percent of GDP to 1.5-2 percent.
Additionally, the strategy aims to double the number of Egyptian businesses selling online, and significantly increase the share of e-payments in e-commerce from current 8-10 per cent.
Yasser El-Kady, Egypt’s minister of telecommunications and information technology, said during the conference that Egypt has advanced telecommunications services and infrastructure that provides a strong foundation for developing safe electronic payment mechanisms.
He added that development of the logistics sector and the proliferation of Egypt Post centers across the country, in addition to the large youth population, will enable the growth of e-commerce.
The strategy, according to El-Kady, is important to the encouragement of entrepreneurship and job creation.
He also added that there is an initiative to raise social awareness about using e-payment methods, as well as establishing centers for e-commerce and e-services.
Meanwhile, Sirimanne recommended further action to strengthen Egypt's information and communications infrastructure, including switching to cheaper, high-speed broadband and continuing to improvem fiber access and 4G mobile broadband.
She also stated that by 2020, Egypt would fully leverage the potential of e-commerce to boost regional and international exports and domestic trade so as to create jobs and increase e-commerce production, services and applications.
Political committment to this goal, a competitive IT sector, ample engineering and technology talent as well as tech-savvy youth are all important strengths for Egypt's plan to drive e-commerce forward, Sirimanne said.