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    EGYPT’s ICT Success: An Integrated Model

    Date published: 28 May 2007

    Egypt's ICT sector is a success story, with sustained double digit growth reaching 25% compared with 7% for the national economy. The key factor for success is the planned synergetic coexistence of a number of elements that converge to create vibrant and robust growth.

    Foundation: A qualified human resource base of 250 thousand university graduates annually, the ratification of appropriate telecommunication and e-signature laws, together with a solid modernized ICT infrastructure at the crossroads of major global submarine cables, are the foundation for the development of Egypt's ICT sector. In addition, ICT reform and deregulation lead to higher FDI in the ICT sector. Systematic multi-stakeholder consultations and international expert research, enhanced by a coherent institutional framework, resulted in the identification of niche areas were Egypt's competitive edge could best be exploited. Examples include natural language applications, business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing among others. Public private partnerships have proven to be the most effective means to achieve success in a number of initiatives launched by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

    Innovation: An annual ICT business plan competition is conducted to spot young talents. An incubation facility was set up at Egypt's technology park, the Smart Village. Virtual R&D Centers of Excellence clustering start-up companies, multinationals, Egyptian expatriates and research centers were created in key niche areas such as data-mining and wireless technologies. A private Technology Development Venture Capital Fund was established. None of these elements would have had the expected impact if initiated separately or sequentially.

    Access: Subscription-free Internet enables all Egyptians to access the Internet at the cost of a local phone call. The Egypt PC 2010-Nation Online initiative provides low cost PCs in installments starting from $7 per month. More than 1400 IT Clubs exist all over the country primarily in deprived and remote areas to provide access and training to local communities.

    ICT4D: Education, health and government services are key priorities for the country's development where ICT provides considerable added value. The Egyptian Education Initiative launched with the World Economic Forum is enhancing the effective use of ICT in all levels of education and for life long learning. The telemedicine network, the health informatics program and the medical emergency call centers are reducing costs and increasing efficiency of public health services in Egypt. Public private partnerships with multi-national companies have enabled Egypt to lead in providing e-government applications. 

    E-Content: Arabic content on the web accounts for less than 0.5%, in sharp contrast to the massive contribution of Arab culture and civilization to human history. The Arabic e-Content Initiative launched by MCIT is creating a portal that will digitize in its first phase 2000 books and 300 software programs. The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage is documenting Egypt's heritage using the latest technologies.

    Egypt is engaged in global policy dialogues and initiatives such as the Internet Governance Forum, which we are hosting in 2009, and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development. We are now confident that Egypt's ICT sector has gained recognition as an effective peer in the international ICT community.

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