In Egypt, as in the rest of the Arab world, e-commerce startups still face some major hurdles to growth, including a lack of banking options, a general mistrust of online purchasing, and outdated or nonexistent government regulation.
In general, Egypt is a tough market, due to high computer illiteracy, a poor telecoms infrastructure, and weakened economic conditions – nearly a fifth of the population lives below the national poverty line, according to Freedom House. All of this is only compounded by political uncertainty since the revolution in 2011.
It's particularly tough to handle online payments; cash on delivery is a must for any successful e-commerce site in the country.
In 2010 only 10% of the population had bank accounts, 45% of the population, which is below 18, is ineligible for bank-issued cards, and in 2010 only 4% of Egyptians had debit cards and less than 2% had credit cards (...). The government’s lack of regulation or certainty around online payment legislation is a big obstacle to protecting online transactions as well; not much has been done since e-signature infrastructure was legislated in 2004 to make e-commerce payments more secure.
Many banks in Egypt won’t allow users to purchase products online with the credit cards they do have, due to a fear that consumers will ask for paybacks or refunds en masse, yet there are a few who do, with limitations (....).