Egypt long has been a leader in the Arab region and it now has the opportunity to become an Internet leader. According to a new Google-supported Boston Consulting Group study entitled “Egypt at a Crossroads: How the Internet is Transforming Egypt’s Economy,” the country has the largest population of Internet users in the Middle East - 31 million as of July 2012.

The Internet contributed an estimated 15.6 billion Egyptian pounds to the Egyptian economy which constitutes 1.1 % of GDP and is comparable to the GDP share of other sectors in Egypt including health services (1.3%), education (1.1%) and oil refining (1.1%).

While the report shows that Egypt is making progress in terms of infrastructure and usage, vast unlocked opportunities and much potential remain to capture the Internet’s full potential. Egypt’s Internet economy could grow substantially over the next five years at an estimated 22% per year in nominal terms to reach more than 52 billion Egyptian pounds by 2017.

“Egypt’s Internet economy is now at a crossroads. The choice is whether to continue with business as usual or to take bold steps now to unlock the potential of e-commerce and energize online business-to-business transactions, thereby driving substantial growth in the Internet’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP” says David Dean, Senior Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group.

By commissioning this report, Google aims to providing a better understanding of the economic impact of the Internet. One opportunity Google has embraced is investing in enhancing the quality and quantity of Arabic content on the Internet. The Arabization of the Internet represents a crucial component of Google’s strategy in the Middle East and North African region and is part of Google’s commitment to educate users in their own language.