2 March 2021
Egypt, Iraq Discuss Enhancing Cooperation in ICT


Egyptian-Iraqi discussions have been held via videoconference, chaired by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and the Iraqi Minister of Communications Arkan Shahab al-Shaibani. The discussions aimed to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Iraq in ICT and post, especially in achieving the digital transformation, building digital capabilities and rendering postal services.

The meeting discussed the outcomes of the Egyptian-Iraqi virtual expert meeting held in February with the aim of exploring the capabilities and resources available in each country in the ICT sector. The meeting also addressed national challenges and how to turn them into promising and significant opportunities of cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, Talaat stressed how special the Egyptian-Iraqi relations are, and said that he looks forward to strengthening bilateral ties in ICT in light of the concordance of political visions of the leaders of the two countries when it comes to the need to deepen ties at different levels.

Talaat presented Digital Egypt strategy, which the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is implementing based on three pillars: achieving digital transformation, building digital capabilities, and promoting digital innovation, standing on three main planks: developing the digital infrastructure, improving the quality of postal services, and creating a regulatory legislative framework.

Talaat stated that MCIT is eager to carry out joint projects to support digital transformation, capacity building and the development of the digital infrastructure in Iraq. He proposed establishing effective cooperation between the two countries in communications and capacity building through training young Iraqis at MCIT training institutes and Creativa Innovation Hubs.

For his part, al-Shaibani underlined the strategic relations between Egypt and Iraq, adding that the political leadership in Iraq focuses on and directs towards deepening bilateral ties with Egypt. He stressed his keenness to hold this meeting to enhance cooperation between the two countries in ICT-related areas.

Al-Shaibani said that he looks forward to collaborating in digital transformation and leveraging Egyptian expertise in this field to transfer such expertise to Iraq, as his country endeavors to achieve the transformation into a digital society.

During the meeting, officials from the two ministries proposed areas of cooperation. The Deputy ICT Minister for Administrative Development, Digital Transformation and Automation Khaled El Attar explained the strategic trend toward citizen-focused digital transformation in Egypt. He referred to the most prominent achievements in the transition to a digital interconnected government, and the efforts made for attaining electronic governance to make optimal use of resources, support decision makers and promote transparency, accountability and control across all businesses.

The Egyptian National Post Organization (ENPO) Chairman Sherif Farouk proposed areas of cooperation between Egypt and Iraq in postal services. He stated that ENPO is ready to transfer Egyptian expertise in digitally transforming ENPO postal and financial inclusion services, in addition to providing training programs for Iraqi people through the regional postal training center, which is the Universal Postal Union (UPU) accredited center in Africa.

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) CEO Amr Mahfouz presented a number of proposed projects of cooperation between the two countries in developing the IT industry through sending missions to explore markets to identify opportunities for Egyptian companies to provide their products to support the digital transformation in Iraq. This is in addition to holding events to strengthen cooperation between companies in both countries and developing people’s skills at technical and administrative levels.

For her part, the Information Technology Institute (ITI) Chairwoman Heba Saleh said that as part of MCIT capacity-building strategy, several initiatives were launched. They are carried out through global partnerships to serve digital transformation projects and create decent job opportunities for young people nationwide. She proposed cooperating in raising awareness of the services provided through MCIT-affiliated digital learning platforms, and of future jobs skills. This is in addition to holding periodic e-workshops, with providing training services and technical advice, and transferring expertise to trainers.

Furthermore, the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) Director Iman Ashour proposed collaborating through NTI to qualify specialists in digital transformation technologies, including fiber optics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and the safe use of mobile networks. Ashour also proposed partnering up with the Higher Institute for Telecommunications and Post in Iraq to provide a twinning postgraduate diploma program for Iraqi students in specialized communication fields, and conduct joint research between the two sides.

The Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technology Innovation, Electronics Industry and Training Hossam Osman highlighted that the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) is ready to share activities with and transfer expertise to the Iraqi Entrepreneurship Center. This is achieved through providing a range of services that help promote entrepreneurship, and acquire the European Business Network (EBN) accreditation and the Arab Technology Incubators and Techno Parks Network (ARTECNET) membership. This is in addition to carrying out programs to stimulate entrepreneurship, and online courses to train trainers, university students and women in Iraq.

Moreover, the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) Acting Vice President for Information Infrastructure Technologies El-Sayed Azzouz showcased Egypt's efforts in the field of satellites, and the role of Tiba-1 Satellite in driving development through providing a telecommunications infrastructure. He highlighted NTRA keenness on cooperating and transferring the Egyptian expertise in this field to Iraq.

The Executive Director of the Egyptian Computer Emergency Readiness Team (EG-CERT) Waleed Zakarya discussed the proposed steps for capacity building and the strategic cybersecurity plan for Iraq. He referred to the Egyptian experience and the international cooperation between Egypt and several countries in cybersecurity through establishing relevant teams and laboratories. He also highlighted Egypt's willingness to transfer its expertise in this field to Iraq.

For his part, Telecom Egypt Vice President, Chief International and Wholesale Officer Seif Mounib underscored Telecom Egypt’s potentials in interconnection, international connectivity and the company’s secure global network. He also proposed areas of cooperation between the two countries in digital infrastructure.

The Iraqi side shared their suggestions for enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries in ICTs. The two sides agreed on developing a framework for areas of common interest through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that reflects the discussed future cooperation.

From the Iraqi side, the meeting was attended by the Technical Undersecretary of the Ministry of Communications Wadi Karim Wadi, the Assistant General Manager at the Informatics and Telecommunications Public Company Adel Jabbar el Araji, the Post and Savings Public Company General Manager Safwan Jasim Mohammed, the Director of the Department of Planning and Follow-up at the Ministry of Communications Adam Al-Quraishi, and Loay Amin from Al Salam State Company.

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