Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
8 June 2019
During G20 Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy, ICT Minister Underlines AfCFTA Significance to Promote Cooperation in Digital Economy

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has participated in the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy, on June 8-9, in Tsukuba, Japan.

During his participation in a session titled “Data Free Flow with Trust”, Talaat stated that there are three different views on dealing with data in Africa. According to the first view, data stimulates growth, provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to innovate, and promotes Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. The second is represented in protecting personal data in accordance with global standards. The third lies in considering the security standards to face Internet fraud.

Talaat also said that Africa has adopted African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, which aims at achieving free flow of data.

Moreover, the ICT Minister showcased the major challenges facing Africa in data flow, represented in major companies monopolizing data, thus hindering competition and limiting the potentials of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and startups. This is in addition to the growing need for cybersecurity experts, to ensure smooth and secure flow of data, as well as the need for building trust in digital transactions.

Talaat, during his participation in the “Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (AI)” session, said that Africa currently represents a promising market for innovative technologies, such as AI, which is a powerful tool to help address a number of challenges facing the continent. He underlined the significance of benefiting from the enormous potentials that these technologies offer, to develop African countries.

This can be achieved through two pillars: the first is capacity building to place Africa on the global AI map as a key player and not as a consumer. The second is promoting applied research through establishing international partnerships in areas including AI, Internet of Things (IoT), and other technologies to help find solutions for problems in different aspects of life.

Furthermore, Talaat referred to the growing challenges triggered by modern technologies, facing developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs), compared to the developed ones. He called for concerted efforts to overcome these challenges and use technology in education and training, focusing on Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) in research and development (R&D) in AI.

During his participation in the “Trade and Digital Economy” session, Talaat stated that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a key step to pave the way for more cooperation between African countries in digital economy, and is a platform for cooperation between Africa and its global partners.

In addition, the ICT Minister presented the major elements that help achieve a successful transition to the successful digital economy, comprising having a strong digital infrastructure, achieving financial inclusion, and eliminating digital illiteracy.

Talaat also acknowledged the significance of promoting digital African knowledge, and enabling all segments of society to participate in the digital economy through providing them with the essential digital tools and skills. This is in addition to promoting digital innovation and creating an enabling environment to be a starting point for an emerging and unified African digital economy.

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