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    ICT Minister Meets Saudi Counterpart to Discuss Cooperation in ICTs

    Spain, 27 February 2019

    The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has met with his Saudi counterpart Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha, as part of his participation in the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019) in Barcelona. They discussed enhancing cooperation in ICT, and exchanging expertise between the two countries in e-government and digital transformation.
     
    During the meeting, Talaat stated that Egypt is keen on establishing effective and fruitful cooperation with Saudi Arabia to implement economic projects in areas of mutual interest, to serve as a model for cooperation between the two countries. He highlighted the strategy of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) with its two pillars: implementing digital transformation, and building the Egyptian person. He referred to the 17 Egyptian new cities that will be transformed into smart cities, using the Internet of Things (IoT).
     
    Talaat added that cooperation has been established to encourage young people to innovate in ICT and foster their skills. This is in addition to transferring Egyptís experience in technological training through dispatching expert trainers and training programs to brothers in Saudi Arabia, and cooperating to provide specialized training programs through a digital platform, and make them available to Arab youth, free of charge.
     
    On his part, Alswaha represented the projects that the Saudi telecom sector is implementing to build a digital economy and support the participatory economy. He referred to the importance of cooperation between the two countries to build youth capacity, especially with the plan to establish an information technology institute in Saudi Arabia along the lines of the Information Technology Institute (ITI) in Egypt.
     
    During the meeting, they agreed on forming team works to follow up the implementation of joint projects in all areas of cooperation, including entrepreneurship in digital games, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cybersecurity, and Blockchain, which is of common interest of both sides.
     
    At the end of the meeting, Alswaha said that he will visit Egypt during the first half of this year, heading a high-level delegation, with investments being on the visit agenda.
     
    On another level, Talaat and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Cisco, with the aim to cooperate in achieving the African App Launchpad (AAL) presidential initiative. The agreement stipulates that the two parties cooperate to promote the initiative in a number of African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Congo, Algeria, Senegal, Cameron, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Mauritius.
     
    The agreement is one of the key steps that MCIT takes to operationalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MCIT and Cisco, signed last December. The MoU targets enhancing digital transformation processes and promoting technological innovation programs implemented by the Egyptian government as part of its efforts to transform Egypt into a regional hub for digital innovation.
     
    Talaat highlighted that Egypt is keen on building youth capacities through providing specialized training. This comes as a number of initiatives are implemented including the Future Technology Pioneers Initiative.
     
    He represented the major projects and programs implemented to support innovation and entrepreneurship among young people, through cooperating with international companies to host Research and Development centers. This is in addition to supporting and embracing startup companies in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). He referred to MCIT efforts to implement the African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative, as well.
     
    On his part, Robbins welcomed the cooperation with MCIT, and highlighted its importance.
    The agreement stipulates that Cisco, through Cisco Networking Academy program, shall cooperate with TIEC, of ITIDA, to provide three training courses in different programming languages and development of digital games, in addition to entrepreneurship training courses.

    Following the training comes the organization of a competition, where teams of trainees who successfully passed the courses will be formed to develop solutions and ideas in applications and digital games development. This will be followed by the selection of teams and the orientation and building capacities for business development phase, during the projects development stage.
     
    Egypt is due to host the competition final stage, where final teams will be evaluated by a joint evaluation committee formed by ITIDA, Cisco and TIEC. The committee will select the best teams and ideas, which are potential ICT startup companies, with a number of financial and in-kind awards for the winners.

    The agreement was signed by ITIDA Acting CEO Maha Rashad and Cisco Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia, Pastora Valero.
     
    The African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative provides free training courses, targeting graduates of 2006 and subsequent years, or university students who are expected to graduate in the next two years. It requires that applicants must have the basic ICT knowledge, as well as other requirements available on the registration web page.
     
    The initiative was launched with the aim to qualify Egyptian and African youth in technological games applications and different digital applications programming. It aims at qualifying 10,000 Egyptian and African young people to use modern technology, and building 100 startup companies in these fields.



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