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    Towards Building Egypt’s Information Society

    Date published: 26 January 2004

    The information society of the future starts with the citizens of today. By increasing technology usage, Egypt is laying the foundations for a vibrant domestic communications and information technology (CIT) industry with the potential of yielding rich export and employment opportunities and most importantly empowering citizens for change.

    Egypt’s partnering with the business community aims to create growth in the CIT market while contributing to a vibrant information society. Three uniquely Egyptian initiatives helped Egypt jumpstart its road to CIT accessibility. The Subscription Free Internet Initiative has partnered Telecom Egypt (TE) with the country’s 140 ISPs to provide access to the Internet, implementing a revenue sharing scheme between ISPs and TE. The model offers the service nationwide at the cost of a local call with no premium; boosting internet use and the development of localized Arabic content on the Web.

    Similarly, the PC For Every Home Initiative -- launched by the Ministry of CIT end of 2002, to increase computer penetration rates in households, implemented in partnership with Telecom Egypt and 17 private sector computer manufacturers is a model for public-private partnership. It offers affordable, internet-enabled family computer on installments, with no collateral and no deposit required – the only guarantee needed being a fixed telephone line. The initiative instantly bolstered the growth of the supporting industries and services. To date, over 55,000 computers have been purchased through the initiative, and reflected an increase in Internet use. Increasing computer use lays also the foundation for providing a firm base for building a strong information technology sector, including the development and export of software and e-services.

    The Egyptian Ministry of CIT established more than 566 Information Technology Clubs (Government subsidized Internet cafés) in dense and remote areas of Egypt; with an aim to familiarize people with computers and promote IT awareness regardless of skills, gender, and economic standing. In collaboration with NGOs and local organizations, the Clubs offer affordable access to computers, Internet, software libraries and basic training on IT skills. Through its continuing commitment to IT Clubs, the Ministry is making IT part of local communities; ensuring opportunities for all.

    Egypt is growing into a hub for telecommunications and information technology in the Middle East and Arab Region. This is realized with Egypt’s high-tech infrastructure, new laws and growing consumer society. A pro-active policy and clear long-term vision by the Government of Egypt, in partnership with the private sector, seeks to make the CIT sector a key one in the country’s economy. Today, Egypt’s CIT sector is growing exponentially and dynamizing the national economy.

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