First of all, I know there are a million articles out there about this. But the thing is, there aren't any literary agents in my country, Egypt. Authors query publishers directly, and I find this inconvenient because I'm an editor and I know how many manuscripts that could've been better, and could've been published have gone to waste because publishers here, 99% of the time, don't want to risk publishing a debut novel (especially in English, although there are lots of readers who want that), which caused an increase in the self-publishing industry here as well as the lack of diversity in the books published and a general decrease in the number of new books (since most of the best-selling authors have passed away). In addition, some publishers tend to get paid by the author so they would publish their book - so it's more or less like self-publishing, only that it costs more.
However, I personally think that if we had literary agents, who could work with authors, know which publisher would be interested, know how to help promote that author and their work, this would definitely change. New voices would be encouraged to get published or at least try to, knowing their rights and knowing that their effort wouldn't go to waste because they don't have enough money/don't have enough connections/etc.
Plus, if there were literary agencies in Egypt, we would definitely have more foreign books, with less expense as bookstores now tend to import new releases in English/other foreign languages through Amazon/similar websites. I, as a reader, can't get most of the books I want (especially YA) because bookstores haven't imported them/they're too expensive. And if I order them myself, I'd pay at least 4x the price of the book and get it about a month later. Something that encouraged piracy (in addition to the lack of e-Readers here. No Kindles, Nooks - nothing. Only the iPad and stuff like that recently, and it's still too expensive). Instead, publishers here would be introduced to those new releases and more readers would be encouraged to buy those books instead of the imported ones.
But I know that before I become an agent, I have to know much more about how agents work, and I think that could only happen by getting an internship somewhere. And since there aren't any agencies here at all, I don't know how to do that/what to do. If available somewhere, I'm willing to work through the internet or something like that, but I'm not sure where to look or whom to contact.
Sorry for the super-long post, by the way ^^