Egypt shows enormous interest in introducing digital transformation to the national economy aiming at realizing rapid development and enhancing the Egyptian society. That is why the Egyptian government encourages and supports the atmosphere of investment and digital business through taking measures to develop this sector and to reduce the problems that may arise in this field. Significant legislations covering this subject can be further elaborated as follows:
Companies Law No.159 of 1981, Investment Law No.72 of 2017, and Decree No.26 of 2020 regarding the issuance of the licensing regulation promulgated by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) are the main regulations tackling registration of digital business in Egypt. Companies seeking to practice this activity in the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt must comply with the aforementioned laws and regulations.
In order to register a digital business in Egypt, the company must adopt one of the following types: JSC, LLC, or a One-Person Company with limited liability. Then, the company must register in the Chamber of Information Technology and Communication (CIT) during the incorporation process, and it must obtain licenses from the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) after the incorporation process is completed in order to have a website or an application to practice digital business.
The Supreme Council for Media Regulation is entitled to issue licenses for having websites or applications “without prejudice to the provisions contained in the law and the Executive Regulations regarding electronic newspapers and the website of the media outlet, the license for the website (page, link or application) that provides news, informational or electronic commercial advertising services and that provides content that includes promotion of business, services, products or people through the international information network (the Internet) inside the Arab Republic of Egypt, in accordance with the provisions of these regulations”. (Article (13), Decree No. 26/2020).
Pursuant to Article (14) of the aforementioned Decree, Egyptian persons, natural or juridical, are entitled to have their own websites, as whoever, among them, owns websites shall not conditionally be deprived of exercising its political rights, and no judgment shall be rendered charging that Egyptian person in a felony or misdemeanor of moral turpitude or breach of honesty or public morals unless the person has been rehabilitated. The owner who is a private legal person is also required to take the form of a company owning the website and composing of one or more persons, whose capital must not be less than EGP 100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Egyptian pounds).
Article (15) of the abovementioned Decree lays down the procedures of obtaining such License from the competent Authority, and stipulates: “The application for licensing the websites referred to in Article 13 of these regulations shall be submitted in the form prepared for this purpose to the General Secretariat and signed by the owner or the legal representative in which the following shall be included: name, surname, nationality and place of residence of the owner, and a copy of the national ID card and a copy of the commercial register after reviewing the original shall be enclosed. The website name, its registered trademark, language with which it is broadcasted, type of its activity, sources of financing, budget particulars, its legal site, place where it is broadcasted, type of service and its geographical boundaries, and the broadcasting technology used, shall be also included. In addition, application shall be enclosed with a receipt evidencing payment of a class fee that amounts to EGP 50,000 (Fifty Thousand Egyptian pounds).
Whereupon, the General Secretariat refers the licensing applications to the competent licensing committee, and then the committee prepares a report including its opinion on the application after being examined, taking the opinion of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority into consideration.
After that, the report shall be submitted to the Supreme Council to consider whether or not the license can be issued after fulfilling the requirements needed for the approval of the concerned bodies. The period of the license is five years that may be renewed by virtue of a request submitted by the licensee to the Supreme Council six months before the expiration thereof, and the renewal of the license shall be in return for a fee of the same value stipulated in the first paragraph herein and shall be renewed after reviewing the conditions of its renewal.
In all cases, the license must conform with the provisions of the Constitution, as well as the laws and decisions applicable in the Arab Republic of Egypt, especially the provisions of Law No. 180 of 2018 referred to and the Executive Regulations and decisions thereof”.
Moreover, according to Law No. 10/2003 on Telecommunications Regulation, the company must obtain a license from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA). The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is the official authority concerned with regulating the telecommunications sector through implementing established policy for developing and disseminating telecommunications of various types, in line with developing communication technology and ensuring that needs of individuals, institutions, and companies, as well as the needs of the various State sectors – production, economic, administrative, and services sectors – of telecommunications services, are met most properly and in suitable prices while encouraging investment in this sector on a non-monopoly basis and in light of free and open competition between the best international and national experiences ensuring openness and transparency of information and provision of comprehensive services as well as protection of users’ rights.
The company shall submit a request to obtain the said license from the NTRA, and the Authority will request the required documents from the company according to its activity.
The company may be subject to other licenses depending on its activity and products that are to be sold during and after the company’s incorporation process.
At last, the company shall be physically present in the Arab Republic of Egypt and shall have premises or an address in Egypt.