Technology and the Arab Spring
At a series of Egypt Forward forums held around the U.S. in June, OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield and other OPIC staffers addressed hundreds of American businesses interested in doing business in Egypt and described how OPIC’s finance and insurance tools could support them.
The forums were sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which works to create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services in emerging economies. USTDA noted in conference materials that the Egyptian economy is one of the largest in the Arab world, and that, despite the current uncertainty over the political and regulatory environment, Egypt “still has the potential to be counted among the emerging markets most poised to offer good returns for foreign investors.”
OPIC Investment Funds Officer Michael Gujda spoke at the Egypt Forward event in Silicon Valley, where USTDA highlighted the region’s strong growth in information and communications technology (ICT): It said Egypt’s ICT sector grew 15 percent in 2010 and is expected to almost double from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $3 billion in 2015. Egypt’s mobile subscriber base last year grew by 24 percent and the number of Internet users grew by 38 percent. Egypt’s IT spending is expected to increase from $1.4 billion in 2010 to $2.6 billion in 2014.
Some of the other Egypt Forward forums focused on investing opportunities in the agribusiness, energy and transportation sectors. In this picture, OPIC Managing Director John Moran speaks with an investor interested in the transportation sector during the Egypt Forward Forum in New York City.