Business Insider Names Egypt Africa’s “Hottest Tech Scene” Yet Challenges Await
By Muhammed Aladdin
Humanity is experiencing an unprecedented technological boom, and according to Business Insider, Egypt is not lagging behind. The American newspaper dubbed Egypt’s emerging startup ecosystem “the hottest tech scene” within the African Continent. However, it highlighted some of the challenges entrepreneurs are struggling within the land of the Nile.
One of the most populous countries in the MENA region, Egypt has a population of 100 million individuals, and according to Index Mundi demographic report of 2018, 89.3% of Egyptians are under the age of 54, with the average age set at 24. In other words, the Egyptian population is extremely young and full of potential. Furthermore, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s most recent Egypt National Report has seen 46% of the adult Egyptian population aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
Many of the country’s plaguing issues including education, transportation, and pollution have inspired a generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs to look for solutions through science and innovation, and many of them actually have succeeded in doing so. In the past couple of years, we have seen the rise of recycling in Egypt through the startup scene, as well as a myriad of ride-hailing apps contributing to the decrease in traffic jams.
The North African country has taken praiseworthy steps in encouraging and empowering these young businesspeople. However, Business Insider believes two major obstacles are holding us back; “brain drain” and “bureaucracy”.
The unfortunate economic downfall has seen the Egyptian Pound (EGP) falter before the US Dollar (USD), which encouraged many of Egypt’s sharpest minds to look for opportunities elsewhere prioritizing financial security. But, with news breaking out in early March that the EGP is regaining its strength, recording the highest value against the USD in two years, it seems that economically, Egypt is going to improve.
The second major obstacle was the difficulty many entrepreneurs faced while proceeding to start their companies. The famed Egyptian bureaucracy made it difficult for many tech startups to flourish; with permits, governmental approvals, and tons of paperwork, young entrepreneurs found it hard to provide stock options or equity.
But once again, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the Business Insider’s report focuses attention to two Egyptian industry veterans; Abdelhameed Sharara, Founder of RiseUp Summit; and Fadi Antaki, CEO of A15, a leading Egyptian tech investment fund. The two figures are working hand in hand with the Ministry of Finance to loosen regulations and provide a better ecosystem for Egypt’s startup scene to realize its full potential.