Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
22 January 2021
ICT Minister Witnesses Announcing New Partnerships with Major Tech Companies, within DEBI

Within the framework of implementing Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI), the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talat has witnessed the announcement of new partnerships with major international technology companies operating in Egypt, including IBM, Cisco, VMware, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The aim is to hone the technical skills of the initiative participants, introduce state-of-the-art digital technologies, provide excellent opportunities of professional training,  grant international certificates and help students get closer to the job market.

DEBI is a state-funded program for granting top graduates at the Faculties of Engineering and Computers and Information a professional Master's degrees in data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, robotics and automation, and digital arts.

MCIT, represented by the Deputy ICT Minister for Infrastructure Raafat Hindy, signed
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with four companies. Representing the companies, the MoUs were signed by IBM Egypt Country General Manager Wael Abdoush, Cisco General Manager – Egypt and North and West Central Africa (NWCA) Ayman Elgohary, VMware Regional Director for North Africa and Levant (NALE) Amr Salah, and
Microsoft Country Manager for Egypt Mirna Arif. The signing ceremony was attended by the Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka.

Talat underlined that signing the MoUs is a huge step forward in capacity building, which is a key pillar in the strategy of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and (MCIT) and a foundation of Digital Egypt vision.

DEBI offers a unique model of productive cooperation between the government,  represented by MCIT, and the international technology companies operating in Egypt, said the ICT Minister. The initiative helps bridge the professional gap in the ICT sector and create a generation of specialized professionals through providing technical and practical training delivered by the international companies, to equip the students with practical experience and hone their job skills, he added.

The initiative also provides academic education in cooperation with major international universities, as well as training on a range of personal and English language skills delivered by specialized companies. This is in addition to raising the participants’ cultural awareness with the aim to equip the students with a set of skills to qualify them to compete at the local and international levels, said Talaat.

The ICT Minister highlighted that the proposals and requirements of the companies helped develop the initiative.  He added that DEBI is fully funded by MCIT and aims to create a base of skilled people to build Digital Egypt, which will help transform Egypt into a regional ICT hub.

The cooperation within DEBI involves four main pillars. The first is introducing ICT state-of-the-art technologies through holding hands-on workshops in various technology areas, and educational seminars for students during the study period, in addition to organizing a hackathon for addressing today’s challenges capitalizing on technology. The  second pillar is  providing professional training and certifications through providing training courses on the initiative tracks through the companies’ platforms, to develop the students' skills in using these platforms.

The third pillar of cooperation includes providing the students with training opportunities in applied projects and supporting their graduation projects in the initiative tracks. This is achieved through the participation of students in implementing actual projects within their graduation projects, and in committees for evaluating the graduation projects ideas and making sure they meet the job market needs.

The fourth pillar is connecting the students to the labor market through allowing them to participate in the advisory board of the initiative and in developing the curricula to cover the labor market needs and access professional networks, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates.

Collaboration with IBM Egypt aims to qualify and develop the digital skills of the students selected by MCIT to join the initiative, using the latest IBM technologies, such as AI, data science, data analysis, and Internet of Things (IoT), through IBM Skills Academy and IBM Digital - Nation Africa platforms.

IBM Egypt participates in the initiative through delivering awareness sessions on advanced technologies, providing professional training, awarding certifications, organizing a final hackathon for the top participants and helping them access the labor market.

Abdoush said that IBM attaches high priority to investing in human development, highlighting that IBM offers a wide range of international programs and initiatives for young people of different ages. He added that IBM is pleased to collaborate with MCIT in DEBI through availing IBM technology platforms to develop the digital skills of young Egyptians in the 21st century, to cover the needs of today’s labor market and drive digital transformation.

The collaboration with Cisco Egypt aims to qualify students and faculty members in cybersecurity through offering a full-fledged program based on Cisco Networking Academy’s curricula, where participants will be granted certifications by the Academy.

Elgohary stated that Cisco is proud to work with MCIT to accelerate attaining the national agenda of digitization. Cisco is committed to support the initiatives for developing the technical capacities of young people. The Company looks forward to enhancing its contribution to the success of the social and economic development efforts in Egypt, he added.

The collaboration with VMware targets enhancing the students' technical and professional skills through providing technical training and education in digital transformation, based on VMware’s technical solutions.

Pursuant to the agreement, the two sides will develop an advanced model consisting of several stages of training on VMware techniques, to be implemented by DEBI through its Training of Trainers (ToT) program in cloud computing. In addition, DEBI will become a partner in VMware IT Academy, allowing the initiative to provide the Academy’s educational and training programs and tracks on its website.

For his part, Salah said that VMware is pleased to collaborate in DEBI educational initiative through VMware IT Academy. The agreement will help young Egyptians acquire valuable skills in AI, data science and cybersecurity, and will enable them to succeed in a digital future. This will enhance the young people’s career path and support Egypt's ambitious plan to become a global ICT hub, as part of Digital Egypt vision, he added.

Furthermore, the collaboration with Microsoft aims to provide technology awareness courses and trainings in cybersecurity skills to the initiative participants. This is in addition to providing a training course in data science and AI, and organizing hackathons to help students solve real-world problems and challenges using technology. The collaboration will also help connect the graduates of the initiative to Microsoft Partner Network to find job opportunities.

For her part, Arif highlighted that Microsoft Egypt is proud to support DEBI and cooperate with MCIT. The partnership comes out of Microsoft’s firm commitment to develop the capacities of promising young Egyptians in data science, cybersecurity and AI, build their work experience, and empower them to overcome current and future challenges.

The partnership, in addition, will help young Egyptians occupy a leading position in the competitive labor market, thus contributing to advancing the Egyptian digital economy and making it one of the world’s strongest economies in this field, in line with DEBI, she added.

MCIT is also collaborating with AWS to provide a new training program to support the initiative. The program provides a range of online educational and training programs and certifications that target accelerating learning cloud computing technologies and developing young people’s skills. The program also focuses on the strategic areas of AI, Machine Learning (ML), robotics and cybersecurity.

Participants will be able to benefit from AWS content and online training programs and workshops, as well as other tracks where they get to obtain AWS certificates, which will help qualify young Egyptians.

Egypt Business Lead and Head of Education for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at AWS Azza El-Shinnawy stated that AWS is pleased to collaborate again with MCIT in launching a range of training programs. The programs target developing the expertise and skills of IT professionals in Egypt and equipping them with new skills that will enable them to contribute to the growth and development of various business sectors in Egypt. AWS cloud computing program offers a range of learning options, including tracks to help participants receive international certifications from AWS, she added.

DEBI was launched in September 2020, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The initiative participants get to receive a professional Master's degree from top international universities in one of the in-depth ICT disciplines, in addition  to training certificates from international tech companies, a certificate in leadership and management skills and one in the English language.

Within the framework of the initiative, a number of MoUs were signed with international academic partners, including The Ohio State University and the University of Ottawa in Canada, to provide a joint Master’s degree.

MCIT also partnered up with international organizations operating in Egypt, including Dale Carnegie and Berlitz to develop the personal, leadership and language skills of participants. An agreement of cooperation was also inked with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to prepare the initiative’s first premises, and to conduct the admission tests for the first batch of students.

DEBI first introductory meeting is scheduled for January 27, in the presence of the ICT Minister, the international companies, partners of the initiative, and the students of Spring 2021 Semester. The meeting will introduce the details and activities of the first semester, its study schedule and disciplines, and the initiative requirements and criteria.

The international companies specializing in ICT, leadership and language skills will present the content, activities and training courses they will provide to qualify students in each discipline.

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