Government to launch IT free zone in SCZONE

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
4 Min Read

A government document titled ‘Strategic Directions for the Egyptian Economy’ reveals the government’s plan to launch a free zone for communications and information technology (IT) in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE), along with the submarine cable areas that handle 90% of data traffic between Asia, Europe, and Africa. The document, which is open for public dialogue, also outlines the government’s goal to boost the production of fibre optic cables by setting up 20 factories, connecting all government buildings with fibre optics, and making Egypt a leading regional hub for fibre optic cable manufacturing to serve the local market and increase exports, especially to Africa.

The government aims to rank Egypt among the top 10 countries worldwide in the cybersecurity index by 2030, up from the top 30 currently. It also targets to place Egypt among the top 30 countries in the Network Readiness Index, up from 73rd in 2022.

The document sets some targets for the IT sector for the next six years. The government plans to raise the contribution of the IT sector to GDP to at least 7%, compared to 3.4% in the fiscal year 2021/2022. It also intends to increase the number of mobile towers to 45,000 by 2030, up from 31,000 at the end of 2023, adding 14,000 towers in six years.

The document highlights the government’s strategy for a digital and sustainable society by 2030. The plans include completing the development of Egypt’s digital services system, automating the state administrative apparatus with technology, and creating a closed government network to link all government buildings. The document also shows the government’s intention to offer some government services digitally, such as electronic visa issuance and a digital insurance system for foreigners.

The government also plans to offer facilities and incentives for foreign companies to produce smartphones and tablets in Egypt. According to the document, 26 foreign and local companies specializing in electronic design and integrated software have signed contracts to be present at the Electronics Innovation Center in the New Administrative Capital.

The government aims to increase investments in the IT sector by 49% in the fiscal year 2023/2024, contributing to raising the sector’s output to EGP 346bn, maintaining its role as the fastest-growing sector for five consecutive years, representing over 5% of the GDP in 2024/2023.

According to the document, the government plans to double the number of trainees in the IT field to reach one million trainees by 2030, compared to around 265,000 trainees targeted in the 2023/2024 plan. The government also plans to train 400,000 trainees with a budget of EGP 1.7bn in 2024/2023 and expand the establishment of Egypt’s Digital Innovation Centers to have one centre in each governorate. So far, 20 centres have been established, with a target of reaching 26 centres by 2024.”

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