Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
20 October 2011
Cooperation With Nile Basin Countries

Given the pivotal role Egypt plays towards the rest of African countries, and rising from the Egyptian awareness of the importance of the neighboring African countries, sector of International relations at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has paid a special care for African countries in general, and Nile Basin countries in particular, in view of the critical importance of these countries to Egypt.
The Ministry has begun to activate training and developmental programs in the field of Communications and Information Technology (CIT). 

Furthermore, Egypt participated with notable efforts in modernizing Postal sector in Africa through providing the necessary technical assistance to these countries and the training of human cadres, depending on the huge heritage Egypt has in services and postal products in addition to its ability to create and develop systems of the field.

International Relations Sector is aware that the success of international and regional Policies and economic projects on the level of Nile Basin countries will not be achieved except through establishing a network of strong and solid relationships, creating common channels and aims, and launching regulatory frameworks and governing rules to share with these countries.
Based on this principle, in 2010, Building of Information Society Initiative was launched to enhance the development of communication sector in African continent relying on two main axes.

The first axis related to studying and analyzing communication market of Nile Basin countries and attempting to draw a chart of this sector, putting in mind, identifying areas of promising opportunities for investment cooperation. The second axis related to establishing and developing a training program relying on Egyptian expertise in the field of organizing CIT sector and display the elements of Egyptian market and its operating companies.

This project also targeted to shed the light on the points of weakness which will be revealed through the analysis, in addition to direct special focus on free competition, integration, communication, cyber security, emergency response teams, user rights, quality assurance, broadband services and the documentation of the natural heritage.

Beginning with this project, sector of International Relations of the Ministry began to extend trust bridges with its counterparts in Nile Basin countries.

Uganda represented a launching point. In the end of 2010, an Egyptian MCIT delegation, with then minister of Communication and Information Technology Dr. Tarek  Kamel as its head, paid a visit to Uganda.

The aim of this visit was to take a close look of and identify the problems which the sector has faced in this region and try to involve and solve them.

The result was signing a number of protocols and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that shed the light on certain fields of the two parties' cooperation.

Furthermore, this cooperation achieved certain results among which was to set an action framework to train 3000 trainees in coordination with Ugandan Merkerere University in order to lay, within a year, a training program that based on two main pillars: basic training and advanced training.

This plan really came into light when about 500 Ugandans trained on the service of basic outsourcing through 5- month program given by 5 trainers; each was responsible of a group of 40 trainees.

It was agreed to activate the cooperation in the training of Frequency Spectrum Management and that of regulating communications and basic infrastructure platforms through sending trainers to train cadres identified by Ugandan side. It was also agreed upon assessing the Ugandan training center and identifying the necessary steps to be taken to transfer it into English language training regional center.

On 7 October 2010, an optical fiber cable was launched in Uganda where it was agreed to announce the Ugandan – Egyptian cooperation in the field of outsourcing during this significant event and with the presence of Egyptian Ambassador to Uganda and a delegation of Telecom Egypt and Information Technology Institute (ITI).

At the level of cyber security, Ugandan part asked MCIT to assess equipments needed and cadres required to establish and activate cyber security and Communication Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

Moreover, they reflect their need for training in this field. In this regard, MCIT international relations sector prepared to launch a visit by Egyptian experts to Kampala to offer technical support concerning establishing a Ugandan CERT. It was also coordinated with ITI to send trainers to work in a specialized training program to train Ugandan cadres to reach qualified levels in emergency management related to network and Information security.

It was, also, agreed to start cooperation in this field by transferring the expertise of Smart Villages Company in establishing and managing smart villages to the Ugandan part, in addition to take the proper preparations for Ugandans' field visits to Smart Village.

In the field of documentation of natural heritage, it was concluded to activate the Letter of Intent through cooperation between Ugandan Tourism and Culture ministry on one hand and Ugandan Communication ministry on the other, where the latter would be responsible of the content and the second of the IT.

At the same time International Relations Sector would coordinate to send expert from the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNUT) to reach an action framework to implement the project so that it will be launched after one year during Uganda's Golden Independence anniversary in October 2012.

Worth to mention, International Relations Sector tried not to be immune from the successive developments Sudan witnesses.  With respect to the State of North Sudan, the Sector began to coordinate the holding of two workshops on Frequency Spectrum Management and Communication sector regulations, this month.

Moreover, contacts were launched with National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) to deliver training courses in the fields the two parts agreed upon. Furthermore, experts would pay a field visit to the South Sudan during October to identify and address its real needs.

In the context of coordination with Ugandan part on the proposed ground cable from Uganda to Egypt, Sudan would be invited to attend the proposed meeting in Cairo with Ugandan part during second half of November 2011.

To note, ground cable that linked Uganda to Sudan from the south has been completed, putting in mind that Telecom Egypt has an "Africa Gateway to Egypt"(AGE) submarine cable with the partnership of Bharti Company that extended to North Sudan.

Ugandan part has requested to link the two cables to enable Uganda to be benefited from AGE due to the fact that it is a landlocked country and suffers from many communication problems with the countries around the world under the current circumstances.

Concerning South Sudan, the latest born country, Egypt – represented in International Relation sector of MCIT –has come in the fore countries that proposed to give capacity building training courses to its cadres. The Sudanese part response was fast and direct. They warmly welcomed this initiative and expressed their real desire to activate this constructive cooperation.

Moreover, contacts have been launched with other countries such as Eretria, Burundi and Rwanda in the field of Communication and IT training. Coordination is underway to receive trainees during this month.

As for the Ethiopian part, they welcomed the beginning of training courses but referred to some difficulties concerning providing training labs and their costs. As a response, Egyptian part proposed to send a mission of Egyptian experts to discuss the proper mechanisms to start the activation and find suitable solutions to the problems of training labs.

And last but not least, the Kenyan part has also expressed its desire to know necessary mechanisms to establish smart buildings through Egyptian expertise exchange in the field.  Moreover, there are ongoing talks and meetings with the rest of Nile Basin countries.

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