31 January 2022
MCIT Spearheads Digital Transformation in ‘Decent Life’ Phase I Villages


With the state sectors cooperating to implement the Decent Life presidential initiative, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) carries out several projects to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas, upgrade the information infrastructure, and empower citizens economically and digitally.

The aim is to bring about a wholesale reform in the Egyptian countryside and create smart communities in rural villages, nationwide, to support the national efforts for building Digital Egypt.

MCIT role in Decent Life stands on four main pillars: providing infrastructure for wired communications; improving mobile network coverage; rendering high-quality postal services; and fostering human development.
 
Providing Infrastructure for Wired Communications
 
Telecom Egypt is working on boosting wired communications by installing fiber optic cables, with investments amounting to 5.8 billion EGP. The project will help provide high-speed broadband connection to government agencies to render different services such as education, health, food subsidy, and others, as well as to households. The aim is to improve the quality of life and facilitate individuals’ access to Digital Egypt services such as real estate and commercial registration, notarization, food subsidy, vehicle and driving licenses, courts, real estate tax, schools, digital exams, distance learning, and many more.

The company is implementing Fiber to The Home (FTTH) through creating 659,409 fiber distribution hubs (FDH) to run fiber optic cables from central points, directly to 1,051,250 buildings. Each FDH serves two or three buildings.
 
The project is being carried out in 33 rural villages, with cables completely installed in six of them. The completion percentage by the end of December 2021 was 4.45%
 
Improving Mobile Network Coverage
 
The project is implemented in collaboration between the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), with the aim to boost and expand mobile network coverage and provide high-quality mobile telecommunications. 4G base stations are being built and deployed on a wide scale to provide coverage and accommodate future upgrades and the heightened demand for mobile telecommunications in terms of voice and data services.
 
The project involves building 1,000 new base stations, half of which will be handled by the Universal Service Fund (USF) of NTRA.
 
Since the initiative took off, the planning phases have been completed. In addition, seven stations have been fully operational in five villages since the end of December 2021, where the completion percentage reached 26.04%. The remaining stations are slated to be built by the end of the first half of 2022.
 
Rendering High-Quality Postal Services
 
The Egyptian National Post Organization (ENPO) is undertaking this project, which aligns with the national plan for attaining financial inclusion and the subsequent digital transformation. The project aims to make public services available in a digital format through multiple channels.
 
ENPO is following an ambitious plan to develop post offices in terms of infrastructure and equipment to create a favorable environment for both staff and customers. In the first phase of the initiative, 839 offices will be fully developed.
 
The project covers several areas, including equipping post offices with ATMs, in coordination with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and making a wide range of postal, financial, governmental and Digital Egypt services available. ENPO is willing to establish an outlet in each of the 333 government services complexes, which will be available in the villages. Each outlet will deliver a range of services based on the needs of each village.
 
To realize its vision, ENPO is taking several steps, including optimizing its data centers by upgrading all equipment to improve service quality; connecting data centers to each other to sustain service provision; and developing the operation system by establishing an advanced center for resolving issues that post staff may face. This is in addition to upgrading the basic post network and maximizing the connectivity capacities; creating a network operations center for monitoring and control to fix and prevent malfunctions; enabling around-the-clock channels such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), text messages, mobile applications and e-wallets; and delivering modern services in line with the national orientation towards financial inclusion.
 
So far, 638 post offices have been developed and 19 others are being developed. ENPO is planning to develop 182 more offices to reach its target during the second half of 2022. The completion percentage is currently 77.29%.
 
Fostering Human Development
 
The Institutional Development, Training and Human Capacity Building Sector at MCIT is carrying out several programs and activities with the aim to create an interactive digital community and empower citizens in the villages economically and digitally. The Sector has, so far, held 392 educational sessions to promote digital literacy among citizens of different groups in 345 villages. The achievement percentage has reached 24.2%.
 
In 2021, around 10,650 citizens attended the sessions. The Sector is currently organizing more sessions, targeting training a total of 210,000 citizens before the second half of 2022.

Decent Life is a mega project that targets changing the lives of more than half of Egypt's population and guaranteeing a decent life for unprivileged and vulnerable groups. More than 20 ministries and government agencies and 23 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have joined forces to provide a full package of services, covering health, social and living aspects.
 
The initiative has several objectives, most notably: building infrastructure networks to render basic services such as drainage, water, gas, electricity and communications. Another objective is organizing economic, social and developmental activities that will help improve the living conditions of citizens in rural areas.
 
The initiative is implemented in three phases, each lasting one year. The first phase kicked off on July 1, 2021, targeting developing 1,436 villages with 70% or more poverty rates, in 52 districts in 20 governorates. The second phase will involve upgrading the villages with 50-70% poverty rates, while the third will focus on the villages with less than 50% poverty rates.

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