8 April 2019
ICT Minister, Saudi Counterpart Witness Launching Saudi-Egyptian Digital Economy Forum, Signing Two MoUs to Develop Smart Solutions

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and his Saudi counterpart Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha witnessed, today, the launching of the first Saudi-Egyptian Digital Economy Forum, with the participation of 160 Egyptian and 40 Saudi companies and institutions. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Egypt Osama bin Ahmed Naqli attended the forum.

The forum aims at providing new partnership opportunities, integrating business between the Egyptian companies and the various business sectors in Saudi Arabia, and promoting investment between the two sides. This will contribute to leveraging ICT in the transition to a digital economy, and implementing the two countries’ strategies to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

The forum brings together major Egyptian companies exporting IT services to Saudi Arabia, and promising startups, to boost Saudi venture capital investments and create growth opportunities for the two sides.

During his speech, Talaat emphasized the significance of the forum for promoting digital economy. Several companies participate in the forum which features sessions aiming at providing a common vision for boosting digital economy in the two countries, enhancing avenues of cooperation, and establishing strategic partnerships between Egyptian and Saudi companies. This will empower our societies to achieve digital transformation and leverage ICT in implementing development plans.

Furthermore, Talaat highlighted Egypt’s keenness to establish a digital knowledge economy, and referred to the significance of cooperation between the governmental and private sectors for building such economy. He expressed his hope that the sessions and agreements signed today between Egyptian and Saudi companies would have positive outcomes that further joint work and contribute to achieving the aspirations. He also stated that the facilities and support required for the success of the anticipated partnerships will be provided.

Alswaha, on his part, said that the two countries will cooperate in qualifying human calibers through providing specialized training programs for 4,000 young people, to be graduated within nine months, in a number of ICT fields. He plans to collaborate with Talaat to overcome the obstacles that entrepreneurs and companies face, to create innovative models of digital economy.

In addition, Alswaha called upon governments to stop focusing on working in major governmental projects, on the grounds that survival is of the fittest, and start considering that survival should be of those who can achieve creative partnerships.

The two Ministers witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between “Thiqah”, a Saudi company specialized in smart solutions, business and data services, and “IPG”, an Egyptian telecommunication company. The MoU aims to cooperate in developing smart business solutions for the governmental and private sectors in many areas serving the Egyptian digital economy.

Moreover, another MoU was signed between “Baud Telecom”— a Saudi company specialized in carrying out infrastructure projects for installation, operation and maintenance of telecommunication devices, data communication networks, and systems and security of ICT and data centers— and Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry (MCDR), for the adoption of e-signatures of the two countries.

Following the signing of the MoUs, Talaat met with his Saudi counterpart, where bilateral talks were held, discussing the significance of joint work and future cooperation plans to overcome entrepreneurs’ obstacles, and follow up on the forum outcomes.

The forum comprised four panel sessions, including workshops between the Egyptian and Saudi companies. The opening session addressed the government role to achieve 2030 strategy in Egyptian and Saudi markets, and the significance of adopting emerging technologies, as well as the future of digital innovation in the region.

Moreover, the sessions addressed a number of topics, including means of supporting and promoting startups growth, especially the fast-growing ones, over three years. A number of entrepreneurs and officials of startup investment funds, from both sides, attended the forum.

Furthermore, the impact of financial technology on startups growth, and the opportunities and challenges of their proliferation were discussed, in addition to the pivotal role of women in promoting digital society as well as opportunities to enhance their skills and effective participation in entrepreneurship fields on various levels.

The forum was attended by Deputy Minister for Human and Institutional Capacity Development and the Acting CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Hala El Gohary, the Minister’s Advisor for Technology Innovation, Electronics and Training and the Acting CEO of the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) Hossam Osman, a number of officials from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and its Saudi counterpart. This is in addition to a number of representatives of civil society ICT organizations.

The forum is in the framework of the Saudi Minister’s visit to Egypt, heading a high-level delegation including government officials. The visit aims at enhancing cooperation between the two countries, exchanging experiences, integrating business in relevant fields, and outlining the Egyptian-Saudi agenda for cooperation in digital transformation.

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