Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
25 April 2019
ICT Minister Delivers Speech at Second BRF 2019

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, in his speech during the digital Silk Road session, held on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative Forum, organized in the framework of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), in Beijing, China, on April 25-27, has asserted that Egypt is moving forward to be a leading country in the region in digital economy areas.

The BRF was attended by a number of heads of state and government, and over 1,500 participants.
The value of the international digital economy reached 11.5 trillion dollars, making around 15.5% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), stated Talaat. This value is expected to reach 24.3% in 2025, which requires intensifying the local efforts and enhancing international cooperation to develop strategies that aim at reaping the benefits of this rapid growth, said Talaat, adding that the digital economy of most countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)represents not more than 8% of GDP.

In his speech, Talaat presented the main policies that Egypt has adopted in the framework of the transition to a digital economy through adopting a number of pillars, the most important of which is the implementation of structural reforms.

These structural reforms include establishing the National Payments Council, the Egyptian Supreme Cybersecurity Council (ESCC), the supreme council for digital transformation, and the new Administrative Capital based on the transition to a digital government that provides a participatory environment for various State institutions. The Administrative Capital includes a knowledge city that represents a global model of an environment of creativity and innovation. This is addition to creating an enabling legislative environment for the transition to a digital economy.

Moreover, the ICT Minister said that both the digital transformation and inclusion have been adopted as base of the strategy of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) that includes developing an efficient and secure communication infrastructure, creating an enabling environment for investment and technological innovation, raising financial inclusion rates, and automating the management of State financial resources. This is in addition to activating the role of Egypt Post in financial inclusion and boosting e-commerce.

Talaat stated that 300 million more jobs would be needed in the MENA region by 2050.

Accordingly, Egypt is working on developing the human capital within the framework of its strategy of building the Egyptian citizen, driven by the belief that technological innovation is crucial for stimulating digital economy. This is in addition to promoting innovation, startups and entrepreneurs, and providing capacity building programs in specialized technological fields.

In addition, Talaat underlined that formulating the national strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) will not only help keep up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but will also allow Egypt to play a pivotal role. He, also, acknowledged Egypt’s keenness to have a strong position in the industry map of big data centers, to become an international digital hub.

Furthermore, Talaat and China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote ICT development and exchange benefit between the two countries to enhance investment cooperation, technology development, and explore ICT market. This is in addition to developing and supporting training, research, policies, innovation and entrepreneurship to serve the public and private sector in the two countries.

The MoU lasts for five years and entails cooperation in supporting building the global infrastructure, and enhancing comprehensive telecommunication services in rural areas to increase internet penetration, and bridge the digital gap. This is in addition to cooperating in building the telecommunication infrastructure, including trans-multi-country terrestrial Cables and global submarine cables, and continuing to improve the local ICT infrastructure, including the main fiber optics network, the fixed broadband network, the mobile communications network, the government Internet data center, and Internet connectivity infrastructure.

Cooperation also includes developing ICT applications, boosting mobile payments, Mobile Money Transfer (MMT), and other Internet applications, to enhance digital economy development.

The MoU, also, stipulates that the two sides shall cooperate in planning and establishing smart cities and facilitate technology applications, such as cloud computing, big data, and mobile Internet.

This is in addition to enhancing exchange of experiences, discussing developing ICT infrastructure, promoting capacity building in ICTs through providing intensive ICT training to senior management, exchanging human resources, and collaborating in the satellite sector areas.

Following the signing ceremony, Talaat and Wei discussed enhancing cooperation in AI, cloud computing, telecommunication infrastructure, and supporting technological innovation.

During the meeting, Wei hailed the long-term cooperation between Egypt and China in ICTs, enhanced by signing the MoU that includes numerous areas of joint cooperation, and added that he looks forward to more cooperation and integration during the coming period.

Moreover, the two sides agreed on creating an Egyptian-Chinese innovation program to develop technological solutions to overcome different challenges in all life aspects by using modern technologies, such as e-learning and big data analysis. In addition, they discussed cooperation with the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), subordinate to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), to implement the program.

The two sides, also, agreed on organizing a visit for a Chinese delegation, next May, to explore closely the Egyptian ICT sector and discuss cooperation in digital transformation projects, the New Administrative Capital, cybersecurity, broadband, and satellites.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Built refers to the historic Silk Road.

Beijing, through the BRI, is working on strengthening trade and economic ties between Asia, Europe, and Africa. The initiative includes establishing railway networks, oil and gas pipelines, power lines, Internet, and maritime infrastructure.

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