Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
8 November 2011
ICT Strategy to Target African Countries and Support Cooperation with Nile Basin

Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Mohammed Salem, stressed that cooperation with Nile Basin and African countries is generally one of the most important priorities of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology during the coming period.

Dr. Salem mentioned that the targeting Africa comes in the context of integration of the future vision of the Ministry in Egypt, toward the continent of Africa through an integrated strategy that is developed and currently implemented.

This comes as a belief in the need to build a network of close and strong ties with African countries, especially the Nile Basin countries and the creation of channels and common objectives, regulatory frameworks and governing rules to serve the policies and economics of all parties in Africa in this area.

It was agreed that Egypt will provide technical support for the Nile Basin countries through the exchange of expertise, in areas of training, refinement of technical skills and empowerment of youth in the field of information technology. Egypt will also hold capacity-building, technical cooperation in areas of information technology and communications, besides enriching the cultural communication and knowledge in these areas.

In this context, Dr. Salem added that the biggest Egyptian-African project for human development, training and capacity development of human resources is launched to serve the Nile Basin countries.

The first phase of this two-month project will include participation of delegations from the Nile Basin countries to attend training courses at the National Telecommunications Institute and Information Technology Institute, where training will be provided on specialized 50-60 programs selected and identified by the African countries themselves. Every single course will last for 7-10 days and about 20 trainees from each country with a total 200 trainees in the first stage will participate in the course in two programs.

The project aims to train 3000 professionals from the Nile Basin countries over the year. The program provided for the trainees includes field visits to several of technological entities in Egypt, notably the Smart Village to inspect its facilities and companies particularly the outsourcing service and call centers that Egypt is known for.

It is scheduled that Dr. Salem will soon pay a visit to a number of the Nile Basin countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia in order to activate a number of programs and events based on cooperation, partnership and exchange of interests and expertise between Egypt and the Nile Basin countries in the coming period.

Serious Egyptian-African cooperation with some of the Nile Basin countries has started in the field of information technology and through the State of Uganda.

During the past few weeks, it was announced that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will provide training courses for about 3000 of the young people in Uganda on outsourcing industry and export of IT services across the border in response to meet the request of the President of the Republic of Uganda. This project is implemented in cooperation between Ministries of Communications and Information Technology in both Egypt and Uganda and is implemented by the Egyptian Information Technology Institute (ITI) in coordination with Ugandan Makerere University.

This fruitful cooperation was announced during the ceremony attended by President of Uganda and Egypt's ambassador to Kampala and the charge d'affairs of the Egyptian Information Technology Institute.

Cooperation for supporting the establishment of communication infrastructure in Uganda was also announced in collaboration with Telecom Egypt.

The members of the Egyptian mission discussed with Ugandan officials a proposal to establish new projects in Uganda with Egyptian expertise in the field of outsourcing, call centers and the development of infrastructure of telecommunications networks to make a technological revival using the Egyptian experience and expertise, especially in the establishment of the Smart Village, call center and outsourcing services.

The Egyptian mission is to head for Ethiopia and South Sudan during the coming period. The mission includes experts from the Information Technology Institute to discuss the provision of training and human development and also includes some of the leaders of Egypt Telecom to take advantage of the company's expertise in the establishment of infrastructure for communication services, especially in South Sudan.

In the framework of cooperation on training and technical empowerment, it is scheduled that a range of specialized programs will be provided for the benefit of a group of specialists and professionals in the field of communications and information technology from Rwanda, Eritrea and Burundi.

In context of cyberspace security, the Ugandan part requested the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to make an assessment of the actual needs to create and activate the cyberspace security and national centers to respond to emergency communications (known as CERT) in terms of equipment and staff, as well as specialized training in this area.

In this regard, preparation is made for the visit of Egyptian experts and specialists to the Ugandan capital of Kampala to provide technical support on how to create a National Ugandan Centre to respond to emergency communications.

Also, there is a coordination with the Information Technology Institute to delegate instructors to provide specialized training program through which Ugandan staff is trained up to the levels eligible for the Administration of emergency relating to the security of network and information.

It has been agreed on activating cooperation for the transfer of Egypt's expertise in establishing smart villages and how to establish and manage a smart village project in Uganda with arrangements for the field visits to the Smart Village in Egypt for the Ugandan part.

In the area of documentation of the natural heritage, it has been agreed to activate the Letter of Intent through cooperation between the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Ministry of Communications in Uganda and coordination to delegate an expert from the Heritage Documentation Centre to develop an action plan to implement the project to be launched within one year to keep pace with the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Uganda.

Furthermore, coordination is also made to hold two workshops on Frequency Spectrum Management and regulations of the organization of communications sector in North Sudan.

Discussions are currently underway to coordinate with the National Communications Institute to carry out a number of training courses agreed-upon between the two parties. Field visit is to be made at the expert level for South Sudan to determine their actual needs and commence on the implementation.

In the nascent state of South Sudan, the Sudanese part strongly welcomed the Egyptian initiative for the training of cadres of the people of South Sudan and rehabilitating them in the field of information technology and also expressed strong and rapid desire to the activation of this constructive cooperation. There were also a lot of contacts with countries such as Eritrea, Burundi and Rwanda in the field of training and youth empowerment in the communications and information technology sector where coordination is underway to start receiving trainees in the coming period.

As for the Ethiopian part, they welcomed the start 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.

The Kenyan part has also expressed its desire to know about the 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.

It is worth mentioning that Egypt has contributed with huge efforts in terms of modernizing the postal sector in Africa through the provision of specialized technical assistance and training for human resources, transfer of the Egyptian outstanding experiences for the provision of postal services and products and the development of systems in this vital area.

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