Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
6 October 2020
ICT Minister, French Counterpart Talk Enhancing Cooperation in AI, Capacity Building, Entrepreneurship

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, and the French Minister of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications Cédric O, have discussed, via videoconference, enhancing Egyptian-French cooperation in a number of ICT areas, especially capacity building, promoting entrepreneurship and Research and Development (R&D) in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The ICT Minister commended the productive cooperation between Egypt and France in digital technologies. During the past period, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) signed several cooperation agreements with French companies to implement projects in applied research using AI in a number of fields, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), health and automated information extraction, he added.

Talaat said that he looked forward to further cooperation between French companies and the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) in applied research, as well as to the French cooperation with the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID), through which global partnerships are sought to be established to apply Assistive Technology (AT) to serve Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

Moreover, the ICT Minister referred to the Egyptian-French cooperation in qualifying human capital in digital skills, through cooperating with école Pour l'Informatique et les Techniques Avancees (EPITA) in AI. This is in addition to cooperating with French companies operating in Egypt to establish Centers of Excellence (CoE) and collaborate in capacity building and qualifying professional calibers to work in global markets at a competitive cost.

MCIT plan for developing digital skills targets training over 100,000 trainees, this year, in technology areas, in collaboration with major local and international companies specializing in IT, and academic institutions. This is in addition to establishing Digital Egypt innovation centers nationwide, said Talaat.

For his part, the French Minister commended the Egyptian-French Cooperation in ICT, especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as that period had witnessed a development in the joint cooperation in capacity building and promoting entrepreneurship. He underlined that the joint work between the two ministries was expected to grow during the coming period.

Cédric O stated that work was carried out according to a strategy that is based on research, adding that there was current cooperation with several countries to create an enabling environment for the growth of the AI industry. He also said that he would work to facilitate communication between the competent research authorities in France and AIC and NAID.

The meeting comprised a summary of the results of the Egyptian-French competition, launched last November to help transform Egyptian startups into leading companies in digital transformation. The competition was sponsored by a number of French companies operating in Egypt. Tracks included health, fintech and sustainable cities. The number of 30 startups made it to the finals, with 10 companies competing in each track.

At the end of the meeting, Talaat invited his French counterpart to visit Egypt to attend the competition finals and explore closely the Egyptian ICT sector and AIC projects. The French Minister agreed to visit Egypt in person, or have a virtual visit in case the COVID-19 precautionary measures persisted.

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