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    ICT Minister Delivers Speech during Digital Economy Opportunities and Challenges Event

    Cairo, 3 July 2019

    The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a speech during the “Digital Economy Opportunities and Challenges” event, organized by Canada Egypt Business Council (CEBC) and the Egyptian Business Council for International Cooperation. The event was attended by the Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed El-Assar, CEBC Chairman Motaz Raslan, and a number of former ministers.

    During his speech, Talaat underlined that digital transformation is the responsibility, of not only the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), but also of all the Sate sectors, to achieve a successful transition into a digital society. He added that the underway transition into a digital government started with establishing the Egyptian information infrastructure to integrate databases, which contributes to filtrating the supply support lists and ensure supply is provided to those who deserve it.

    The ICT Minister stated that a number of projects are being carried out in cooperation with the State sectors, in the framework of achieving digital transformation. This includes the e-payment project and the unified card, through which citizens shall receive government services; the project of geographical linkage through a digital map; and the digital cultural content project.

    Moreover, Talaat ascertained that 25 main e-government services will be launched this year, first in Port Said, then in all other governorates. This includes the comprehensive health insurance system, the law enforcement project, the single-window service in investment zones, the automation of Tax Authority to achieve tax justice, the e-visa project, and the automation of documentation offices.

    In addition, Talaat said that MCIT is working on increasing the number of branches of its affiliated training institutes - namely the Information Technology Institute (ITI) and the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) - to 13, through establishing eight new branches in universities.

    MCIT, also, aims to train 15,000 young people during the next period, and deepen their ICT skills through carrying out a number of training projects, including establishing a digital training academy, and implementing “Wazeefa Tech” initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity through Nasser Social Bank, to qualify youth to the labor market.

    Furthermore, the ICT Minister highlighted that the first phase of establishing the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital has initiated, including establishing a specialized center for applied research, an ITI and an NTI branch. In addition, MCIT is studying the possibility of establishing a specialized university for communications and IT, through twinning with one of the international universities.

    Talaat, also, said that Egypt is one of the fast growing countries in terms of entrepreneurship and startups growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He added that MCIT and Egypt Post are studying the possibility of providing young people with small and medium-sized loans to implement their projects through technology and mobile phone applications. A relevant initiative is being prepared in cooperation with the World Bank.

    Moreover, the ICT Minister ascertained that MCIT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, has prepared the national strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI), to be implemented within three to five years. The Ministry of Higher Education is taking care of the academic part, while MCIT handles the applied part.

    The AI strategy will be implemented in health, agriculture and environment fields. It comprises three main pillars, the first of which is data, taking into account the importance of maintaining balance between personal data protection and providing a huge amount of data to enrich AI industry and enable specialized companies to have highly efficient solutions.

    The second pillar is represented in raising community awareness of AI and its solutions in various sectors; while the third is about the information infrastructure to lay foundation of this industry, promote it, and spur companies to introduce AI technology.

    Talaat, in addition, stated that the ICT sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached 4% during 2018-2019 fiscal year, and that structural and legislative reforms are being implemented. This includes issuing the Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes Law, almost finalizing a law on personal data protection, currently at the House of Representatives, and drafting an e-payment law.

    Furthermore, the ICT Minister said that work to increase internet speed and consistency is in progress. He added that Egypt is due to host the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) in Sharm El Sheikh, next October, during which Sharm El Sheikh 5G regulation treaty shall be issued.

    Talaat referred to the projects that MCIT carries out, including the telemedicine project, and establishing an academy for assistive technology in Smart Village, to harness technological solutions, thus empowering Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), to be moved later to the Knowledge City.

    MCIT, also, aims to provide technological access of government websites to help PwDs benefit from them independently. This is in addition to carrying out a project to attract global technology that will enable people with hearing and speech impairments to call the emergency police, the ambulance, and the fire department.






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