Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
15 March 2015
EEDC: ICT Minister Says Egyptians Able to Build Future of Egypt

During Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) held in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Khaled Negm partook in a panel discussion entitled “ICT opportunities and challenges” where he said Egyptians were capable of building the future of the country and were keen to move towards the digital society.

He has added EEDC is a milestone toward economic transformation that opens investment doors and creates job opportunities, thereby allowing real economic and social development.

In his speech, Negm explained that the ICT sector was able to maintain its stability and achieve success despite economic turmoil Egypt witnessed during the past three years. The ICT sector achieved a growth rate of 13% in 2014, and helped in contributing to the national GDP—with a percentage of 4.1—by moving to around 66 billion EGP in 2014 from 38 billion in 2010. IT exports of outsourcing services jumped to 11 billion EGP in 2014 from 8.4 billion EGP in 2010.

Negm has explained MCIT strategy aims to achieve prosperity, freedom and social justice through three goals, the first of which is by shifting towards the digital society through the development of a full secured digital system to simply reach a knowledge society and services at affordable prices to all.

MCIT second goal is to support and develop ICT industry through technology innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting foreign investments and creating job opportunities. The third goal is to promote the geographical position of Egypt utilize the maritime cables to transform Egypt to a global hub of internet services.

In line with achieving those goals, work has to be carried out through seven key pillars: support the expansion of infrastructure of cloud computing and broadband to expand internet coverage bandwidth to 40% for landline and 90% for mobile by 2020, develop infrastructure of communications and data centers, utilize maritime cables,  support information infrastructure and digital content, achieve social development by means of providing ICT services for all citizens and empowering people with disabilities, support electronic manufacturing and design and develop outsourcing industry, he has said.

This is in addition to focusing on cyber-security and e-signature and promoting the legislative environment to create a more suitable atmosphere for investment, he has added.

Moreover, Negm has ascertained that the sector aims to attract 120 billion EGP of investments in the coming five years with 88% participation for the private sector. This allows doubling the contribution of ICT to the national GDP from 64 billion EGP with 3.8%  contribution in 2014 to 195 billion EGP in 2020 with 8.4% contribution, creating 250 thousand direct jobs and 750 thousand indirect jobs.

The ICT minister has pointed that MCIT announced a number of initiatives on top of which is encouraging foreign investments, developing entrepreneurship and innovation, implementing capability building programs, providing integrated financial services for 50 million Egyptians in e-payments, establishing cyber-security high council and preparing for a package of legislations related to ICT development in Egypt.

Negm has explained that the sector has proved its ability to confront major challenges on top of which comes the instability during the transitional phase in early 2011, the limited digital culture among citizens whether through government services or in the private sector.

In this context, he highlighted the example of the e-commerce which was not well received in Egypt, the absence of a strong infrastructure and the need to expand investment in broadband and the significance to develop a regulatory and legislative environment to suit the current technological requirements especially the protection of intellectual property rights and International Investment Arbitration regulations.

Despite challenges, there are many competitive advantages that encourage investment in the Egyptian ICT sector on top of which come the government engagement to provide a suitable environment for investment, and what Egyptian laws offer to protect foreign investors in many fields. This is in addition to the new investment law issued by the government of Egypt in order to strengthen the participation in the development of Egypt, Negm has added.

Egypt is distinguished by its geographic location, being a gateway to Africa and through which pass a number of maritime cables. The country also enjoys high calibers who speak different languages, placing Egypt as a regional and international hub in the outsourcing industry, especially with exerted efforts to develop IT exports industry which resulted in the establishment of Smart Village and Maadi Technology Park. Plans to build more technology parks nationwide are underway.

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