In recent years, Egypt has shown itself as a startup hub as many of its youth are growing up with an entrepreneurial drive and vision. The jobs of the future are tied to, and often synonymous with digitalization and technology.
“Entrepreneurship and youth lie at the heart of development in the digital economy,” says H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, the Minister of International Cooperation. The Ministry of International Cooperation is fostering the potential of innovation, digitization and entrepreneurship through mobilizing the vibrant national and international startup environment, identifying and financing efficient, innovative, agile and scalable ideas. Established in 2017, Egypt Ventures is an investment firm seeded by the Ministry of International Cooperation and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) with a mandate of supporting and investing in startups from a diverse range of sectors across Egypt. It has created a blended finance model through which investments are directed into accelerators, venture capital firms, and startups at the early and growth stages. The one-of-its kind investment firm drives innovation-centric enterprises led by strong and resilient entrepreneurs that have the potential to create high economic value and compete on a global scale. With a fund that equates to more than $40 million, Egypt Ventures and its subsidiary enablers, including, but not limited to, Falak Startups and EFG-EV Fintech, invested in over 150 companies in Egyptian growth stage startups and scale ups. The jobs of the future tap on several UN SDGs at once. They are not restricted to one goal, but rather a collection of several targets successfully coming together to develop new jobs and work sphere, such as Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure and Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth. Currently, Egypt has the highest number of startups deals in the MENA region with a total funding worth $95 million. The annual report of the Ministry of International Cooperation 2020, issued under the title "International Partnerships for Sustainable Development, the digital economy is powering a global recovery, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital revolution has transformed our lives and societies with unprecedented speed and scale, with new technologies inevitably leading to a major shift in the labour market. However, this digital economy requires a new range of jobs and skills. Within the portfolio of the Ministry of International Cooperation, there are currently 34 projects in innovation, digitalization and entrepreneurship contributing to 13 SDGs with a total development financing of $1.014 billion; 4% of Egypt’s ODA portfolio. The Ministry is working on connecting all stakeholders to the opportunities that lie ahead for digitization and entrepreneurship. Multilateralism in this sector enhances tech-capacity and ensures the transfer of knowledge. This is through prioritizing Multi-stakeholder platforms that support economic cooperation between Egypt and its multilateral and bilateral partners in digitalization and entrepreneurship, generating ideas to address challenges using innovative technologies and encouraging technology transfers through financing agreements, implementing digitalization and entrepreneurship projects, and efficiently monitoring the implementation of projects. Emerging technologies such IoT (Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning are coming to the fore. This is exemplified by the New Administrative Capital, a city set to become the country’s first ever smart city, which will include a city-wide digital security system as well as a smart infrastructure to reduce consumption and cost with a focus on renewable energy using IoT. According to the annual report by the Ministry of International Cooperation in 2020, the ministry secured development financing agreements worth $9.8 billion during the year; $6.7 billion for financing sovereign projects, and $3.1 billion in support of the private sector.