Social Media and Economic Development in Egypt

Egypt keyboard

Internet and digital marketing in Egypt is flourishing. Sometimes it may seem it’s the only thing that is. But in the wake of the revolution, it’s not surprising.

Egypt’s youth.

About 24% of the population fall under 29 and over 18- the traditional definition of youth. Sadly, over half of these youth live in poverty. Social media first came to the fore in the 2011 uprisings, where the youth used it as a powerful tool for social change. However, as economic conditions in Egypt have deteriorated, it’s now being used as a tool for development with video marketing and more coming to the fore. Egypt holds a unique position in that it is the largest Arab user of both Facebook and Twitter. 39 million Egyptians have internet access. And they’re using it- up to 89% of new startups report using social and Internet marketing here in Egypt.

Obstacles and New Initiatives.

Dealing with- and fighting out of-poverty is never easy. Nor is functioning in a digital marketing space with poor infrastructure. But these obstacles can be bypassed by attracting investors, establishing support networks and actively fostering the bright minds of the Egyptian youth with innovation laboratories. Where they can’t’ be brought together online, they need to be brought together physically.

The ADEF, or Arab Digital Expression Foundation is a private organization that’s focused on mentorship for digital and social media initiatives amount the youth. They actively promote the uniting of youths to crate, network and above all generate new ideas. The UNDP also offers copious assistance in this regard. Not every online marketing initiative grow s into a successful start-up, of course, but many have an excellent chance at doing so given the right financial or technical support.

The challenges

Internet marketing in Egypt isn’t that simple, though. One obstacle lies in outdated legal frameworks that lack the capability to respond to digital issues. Taxation laws for new forms of video marketing and startups aren’t clear. Innovators are often forced to unconventional methods to deal with the unique legal issues facing the field

Holes in Egyptian law in this area also affect the opportunities to gain funding. A classic example is a model now growing in the west- crowd funding- which is not legal in Egypt, as law bogs down the terms under which online shares can be sold and used. Of course, there’s the age old conundrum of staid social pressure preferring the ‘safety’ of hallowed brick and mortar and ‘real’ jobs, too. Social stigma attaching to this can do a great deal of damage to digital marketing in Egypt. As in the West, a host of other challenges face these digital innovators. But one thing the youth are good at is finding new innovations to match.

In a struggling economy, the potential for this upswing in employment and revenue from digital marketing in Egypt cannot be underplayed. The creation of a favorable market for digital marketing and other jobs makes updating this outdated regulatory infrastructure a must to help Egypt into its bright digital future.

 

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