Improving prospects for digitally enabled livelihoods among marginalized communities in Egypt

Egypt’s limited economic growth and high rates of unemployment are eroding its social fabric and undermining its potential for economic development. The protracted job crisis affects women and youth disproportionately, threatening both current and future generations, especially in Upper Egypt. However, a growing digital economy, combined with government efforts to stimulate job creation and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Upper Egypt, presents opportunities to overcome this development challenge.

An increasingly digital Egyptian economy could offer two promising opportunities for young marginalized Egyptians: building startups that leverage digital products — sometimes referred to as the “app economy” — and seizing employment opportunities offered by global online outsourcing platforms such as business process outsourcing companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people to moderate content for Facebook and Twitter (among others). Several studies document the rise and potential of these sectors in Egypt, but gains seem to be limited to large urban areas. There could be potential for these digital opportunities to contribute to economic empowerment in more marginalized parts of Egypt.

This project, a collaboration between Nile National University and the Cairo-based Industrial Training Council, will create optimal conditions to enable young Egyptians, mainly women, to take advantage of the entrepreneurial and employment opportunities the digital economy offers. It focuses on individuals and organizations as change agents enabling women and youth to harness the opportunities of new digital tools. Specifically, the project will develop the first high quality, localized, and partially Arabized curriculum focused on creating digital and business skills. This curriculum could eventually become the standard for technical and vocational education and training schools, colleges, and universities in the Arab world.

Project ID


Project status



24 months

IDRC Officer

Ruhiya Seward

Total funding

CA$ 1,500,000


Egypt, Middle East


Networked Economies


Recipient(s) to be Determined -- Holding Tank

Institution Country


Project Leader

Marwan Tarazi


Birzeit University

Institution Country

West Bank and Gaza

Institution Website