High interest rates, inflation, EGP depreciation key challenges to telecom sector: Etisalat Egypt CEO

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 9 Feb 2023

Egypt's telecom sector is facing a host of challenges in the local market, such as high interest rates, depreciation of the Egyptian pound, and surging inflation, according to CEO of Etisalat Egypt Hazem Metwally.



These hurdles need to be addressed through considering service prices in order to keep the health of the sector’s economics, he told Ahram Online at an Etisalat press conference on Wednesday that was held to announce the company's 2023 plans and launch a new media campaign.

The Central Bank of Egypt hiked key interest rates by unprecedented eight percent (800 bps) over 2022 and depreciated the Egyptian pound against the US dollar by over 100 percent compared to the phase prior to the onset of the war in Ukraine.

The local market enjoys a solid structure of price competitiveness in terms of telecom and tech services, Metwally noted.

“Telecom and tech services sectors need significant investments to keep the quality of the services provided, to expand, and to meet the market expectations,” Metwally told Ahram Online.

However, local and global high interest rates and inflation are temporary, he said.

 The telecom and tech service business are long-term investments that could not be affected severely by economic challenges, he added.

Etisalat Egypt plans to acquire and invest in a number of tech and fintech service provider companies in 2023, Metwally said without providing details.

He explained that the company has a significant appetite to expand in providing further tech services besides telecom and communications.

He said the Egyptian market is full of potential to grow and expand, adding that Etisalat Egypt will announce new partnerships with local entities in 2023.

Egypt's Sovereign Fund (ESF) and Etisalat Egypt launched Erada Microfinance company in January to give access to a wide range of financial services to micro and small enterprises.

Metwally explained that the new company is managed through an independent board of directors.

He added that the company's investments have reached over EGP 70 billion over the span of 15 years and that it empowers micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises through availing access to finance and tech-enablement in Egypt.

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