Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
11 April 2013
Minister of ICT Launches Egypt's ICT Strategy 2013- 2017

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) launched today the new national strategy for ICT sector (2013- 2017). MCIT future vision focuses on achieving the digital socio-economic development in Egypt: Prosperity, Freedom and Social Justice.

ICT strategy 2013-2017 aims at stimulating and promoting the sector’s growth and attracting more foreign investments to create new jobs. The strategy also aims at ongoing development plans adopted by MCIT during the past period in cooperation with private sector, civil society organizations and Egyptian financial institutions.

The new strategy is based on seven main pillars, representing the implementation track of the programs and projects of ICT sector during the next five years. These pillars reflect the objectives of the strategic plan, for each pillar will work on achieving one or more of these objectives.

They comprise the pillar of developing the infrastructure, organizational structure of ICT and postal services; the pillar of developing ICT’s policies, strategies and ICT indicators and the promotion of international cooperation; and the pillar of developing and modernizing IT and technological infrastructure of the ministries, institutions and government agencies aiming at better life for citizens.

Among the pillars are Improving Egypt’s status on the world’s map in the field of outsourcing through ICT, enabling Egyptian citizens in the era of knowledge economy, Developing ICT sector companies and Creating an appropriate environment to encourage the development of technology innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT and its applications. 

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr Atef Helmy started off his presentation by  showcasing the most important pillars of the new strategy, prioritizing ICT sector’s work scope in the short, medium and long term.

These priorities are represented in the projects and programs of the Ministry in order to develop the domestic demand, programs supporting exports and developing the capacity of local companies, institutions and non-profit organizations, as well as announcing funding programs offered by banks.

MCIT new strategy, Mr Helmy has added, carries out an important message to which MCIT shoulders responsibility: developing a democratic knowledgeable society that supports a strong Egyptian economy based on equitable access to information and quality of services provided, and development of national industry based on human skills and creativity.

ICT Minister pointed out that the main objectives of the new strategy are represented in achieving economic and social development of the Egyptian society using ICT tools through an integrated digital system that consolidates and benefits from Egypt’s geographical position to become a global center for internet services.

Furthermore, the objectives include activating the digital identity in collaboration with different ministries and governmental entities activating the initiative of Egypt’s digital path and benefiting from Egypt’s excellent infrastructure, the largest and newest in the Middle East.

He underlined the importance of benefiting from the capabilities of the technological infrastructure such as activating the broadband initiative which has an estimated investment volume of $ 2.4 billion for implementing the two-year first phase (expected percentage of government contribution is 20%). 

The duration of the second phase of implementation is three to four years with investments up to $ 4 billion (the two phases will begin in September 2013).

ICT Minister has pointed out that the strategy tackles the issue of local electronic technology industry, denoting that Benha Electronics will manufacture 10,000 tablets with a cost of 10 million Egyptian pounds as a pilot project for the production line of lap tops, tablets and mobile phones using surface-mount technology (SMT).

In the detailed presentation Mr Helmy delivered during the Forum, he said that ICT sector held positive and promising indicators, attracting both foreign and regional investments.

The sector’s gross income is currently about 65 billion Egyptian pounds, according to the indicators of 2011 - 2012, and the sector’s GDP is estimated at 48 billion Egyptian pounds, with a contribution rate of 3.2% in the GDP, and a growth rate of about 6%. The number of companies operating in this sector is 4129 companies.

ICT Minister pointed out that the strategy’s aim is to reach a growth rate of 10%, and a GDP of 66 billion Egyptian pounds, with a contribution up to 4.1%.

The strategy also endeavors to create about 50.000 new jobs (10.000 direct jobs and 40.000 indirect jobs) during 2013-2014.

The number of employees in telecommunications companies (landline and mobile), local IT companies, IT and business outsourcing companies, and Egypt Post is about 283.000 workers.

According to the sector’s indicators in December 2012, the number of landline reached 8.56 million subscribers, heavily spread by 10.51%. On the other side, the number of mobile phone subscribers reached about 96.8 millions, heavily spread by 117%.

Internet users reached 32.62 million, heavily spread by 39.41%. The total number of participants in ADSL reached 2.24 million subscribers, and mobile Internet users amounted to 11.06 million users.

The new strategy also identified the sector’s priorities for the next phase, which were represented in the completion of the Communications Unified license in July 2013, implementing the money transfer service via mobile phones in the second quarter of 2013 and finalizing the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) service in April 2013.

Additionally, the next phase’s priorities tackles solving all the remaining problems facing telecommunications companies such as spectrum, towers, cables, and compounds licenses.

As for ICT sector and local companies, the domestic demand initiative is on top of MCIT priorities, implemented through partnerships between MCIT and other ministries and different entities (20 cooperation protocols).

It could also be implemented through new models of partnership between the government and the private sector (PPP). It will be also implemented through the promotion of open-source software and mobile applications.

In the same context, the sector’s budget, as referred to in the new strategy, will be around 300 million Egyptian pounds for government projects, training programs, export subsidy program, and capacity building program for companies and non-profit organizations.

Moreover, MCIT priorities include supporting ICT local companies by taking immediate action against the challenges they face, bolstering and promoting Egyptian companies in exhibitions and international conferences, as well as providing funds reaching 450 million Egyptian pounds through the National Bank of Egypt, the United Bank and the Social Fund for Development to around 23 companies so far.

As for the new projects, around 20 million Egyptian pounds were provided to support and encourage SMEs operating in the areas of mobile applications, open-source applications and other fields.

The strategy highlighted MCIT’s future plan to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and maintain Egypt's position as one of the significant and promising centers in the world for outsourcing industry and exporting technological services.

This will be attained through the necessary support provided to multinational companies in Egypt to preserve their sustainable growth rates, and to provide packages of incentives to attract more foreign investments to the sector.

This is in addition to preparing specialized human calibers to bridge the gap in the various areas of outsourcing through EDUEgypt Program, which pumps every year more than 8500 university graduates specialized in these areas. Official foreign visits will be activated to help open more markets for Egyptian companies and products, and to benefit from international expertise in marketing these services, as well as keeping pace with the ongoing developments.

For the postal sector, the new strategy emphasized the major steps to follow to improve the performance of this important sector, necessary for a large segment of the Egyptian society. This will be achieved through recruiting professional calibers to advance the work system, developing the strategy within 3 months, applying mechanisms of the government’s institutions, as well as providing new postal services.

The current indicators show that the number of the government post offices is 3807 offices spread in all villages and cities nationwide. The number of pension beneficiaries is 4.000.076 per month, as the value of pension disbursed is one billion and 95 million Egyptian pounds monthly, and the number of saving accounts reached 22 million accounts.

The last part of the strategy discussed is growth to be achieved within the next five years, doubling the output of ICT sector up to 120 billion Egyptian pounds by 2017-2018. Providing more than 100.000 direct new jobs and 400.000 indirect jobs is highly expected.

Since 1999, MCIT began working to develop ICT sector, launching its National Communications Plan in 2000, the Strategy for Building the Information Society in 2003, IT Industry Development for Export Strategy in 2006, followed by the National ICT Strategy in 2007.

The new strategy (2013-2017) is a key platform in the history of the sector’s development; keeping pace with political change at the national level which had a significant impact on economic and development levels.

Therefore, this strategy has been developed in order to accommodate political and economic changes in Egypt, as well as developing telecommunications sector internationally and regionally, which directly affects the future work plans.

Additionally, there are sustainable development priorities in Egypt, placing numerous responsibilities on this vital and evolving sector in terms of empowering other sectors to preserve natural resources and environment.

The conference was attended by representatives from IT Industry Chamber, Computers and Software Division, Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), Eitesal Association,  a large number of ICT companies and more than 500 experts and professionals in the sector.

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