28 June 2021
Int'l Cooperation, ICT Ministers Launch Multi-stakeholder Platform for ICT Sector


The Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat, and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat have launched the Multi-stakeholder Platform for the ICT Sector, under the title “ICT sector for development”, in the presence of a number of officials from the two ministries, as well as multilateral and bilateral development partners, including the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova, and representatives from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and others. During the event, the strategies for
developing the ICT sector and its role in supporting the country's development vision were presented.

This comes as part of the periodic meetings held by the Ministry of International Cooperation, within the framework of the multi-stakeholder platform to present development efforts and reforms being implemented across various sectors, alongside the participation of multilateral and bilateral development partners, and other relevant entities to create effective communication. This helps accelerate the pace of development financing programs to implement Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
 
Al-Mashat said that the ICT sector proved pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic, as all countries around the world had to depend on technology to continue business and day-to-day activities. It also achieved significant growth during the past years. Therefore, the Ministry of International Cooperation held a meeting, within the framework of the multi-stakeholder platform to promote and present the structural reforms and developments that have taken place in the ICT sector to the development partners.
 
Al-Mashat added that hosting a multi-stakeholder platform is the first of the economic diplomacy principles, launched in early 2020, by the Ministry of International Cooperation to advance international partnerships and relations that support achieving the SDGs. The Minister added that multi-stakeholder platform aims to achieve several goals, including promoting structural reforms across sectors; sharing the development efforts being made in the State's different sectors; opening the door to cooperation between government entities, private sector and multilateral and bilateral development partners; discuss opportunities of partnerships; and define development priorities. This is in addition to strengthening integration among development partners regarding efforts made to support development work.
 
The Government of Egypt aims to maximize the participation of the private sector in the development agenda, and to implement structural reforms that support its role within the coming years, said Al-Mashat. She added that the inclusion of development partners in these meetings has given them the opportunity to get acquainted with the procedures, reforms and development plans across sectors, and set the priorities of the coming period, to share these plans with all partners, study them in detail and map out effective future partnerships.
 
Al-Mashat hailed the development partners, including the UN, AfDB, and the World Bank, that have all contributed to the Multi-stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) held this year. During the first quarter of the year, MSPs for petroleum and gas, supply, private sector, and SMEs, were held. These MSPs seek to translate the ongoing discussions into tangible partnerships to develop various sectors and enhance cooperation between development partners, government entities, and the private sector.
 
For his part, the ICT Minister stated that ICT is an essential pillar of development strategies across various sectors. He pointed out that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) aims to build bridges of cooperation with international institutions to establish constructive partnerships and maximize the use of technology in achieving development. Talaat stressed that MCIT is cooperating with state entities and institutions to implement Digital Egypt strategy, revolving around adapting digital technologies to serve citizen's needs.

Talaat added that Egypt is witnessing an unprecedented boom in the digital transformation; with 75 digitized government services launched on Digital Egypt platform. These services are also provided through other outlets, including post offices, government service centers, and call centers (15999). He further elaborated saying that several efforts have been made by the State to implement projects that support the move of the government to the New Administrative Capital, in preparation for the paperless government action plan.
 
Explaining MCIT initiatives in supporting technological innovation and entrepreneurship, Talaat added that MCIT is implementing an integrated strategy to create exceptional digital professionals; via establishing the School of Applied Technology, jointly with the Ministry of Education, with the aim to build five more schools to prepare a generation of qualified technical workers in the ICT sector. Egypt University of Informatics (EUI) is also being established in the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital. This is in addition to the implementation of the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) that grants a specialized professional Master’s degree to 1,000 students annually. He also presented the projects and initiatives implemented by MCIT to create a stimulating environment for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
 
Talaat stated that about 1.6 billion dollars have been invested within the past two years to raise the efficiency of the Internet services. He stated that MCIT participates in the Presidential Initiative “Decent Life” through four main pillars, including linking villages with fiber-optic cables to raise efficiency of Internet services for one million homes; developing 906 post offices and providing them with Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs); improving the quality of communication services by providing villages with 1,000 mobile network stations; and implementing a training project for digital literacy and capacity building in technology. In addition, a plan is being implemented to develop Egypt Post offices and increase its offices to become an outlet to provide Digital Egypt's services and financial inclusion services in addition to postal services.
 
For his part, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt Adel Hamed, presented the investment opportunities in the company to develop the communications infrastructure. He stated that the company plans to implement a project to raise the efficiency of Internet services in the villages that fall under “Decent Life” initiative, as well as implementing projects for connecting fiber-optic networks to homes across the country.
 
Vice President of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Hossam Osman also reviewed priority projects that falls under "Egypt Makes Electronics (EME)" strategy, aiming to build electronic boards and circuits, lithium batteries in portable electronic devices, and electronic circuits of LED lighting products and components. This contributes to meeting local, regional and global market needs, and also provides added value to local products while increasing their global competitiveness.
 
The Advisor to ICT Minister for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Golestan Radwan confirmed that a number of projects are being implemented within the framework of the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI). This includes utilizing AI applications and innovative solutions to enhance and develop government operations, as well as development sectors with a focus on agriculture, health, economic planning, infrastructure, smart cities, industry, and Arabic language processing.
 
The National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID) Chairman AbdEl-Monem El-Sharkawy presented NAID strategic pillars of work, and aspects of cooperation, particularly in the field of supporting and stimulating assistive technologies, as the academy aspires to become a regional center to support research, development, and industry in the assistive technologies field. Moreover, a project proposal for technology accessibility, aiming to facilitate the use of some public transportation means, including trains and metros, was pitched to participants.
 
The UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova was pleased to take part in the telecommunications multi-stakeholder platform, emphasizing that this is one of the promising sectors that played a major role during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that major efforts have been made to develop it continuously. Being a co-chair of the development partners group, she wished to maintain discussions to learn about development projects and future work pillars that can be presented to the group.
 
It is worth noting that the Ministry of International Cooperation held a number of multi-stakeholder platforms during the past year, covering transportation, agriculture, and the public business sectors. The Ministry also secured development financing agreements worth $9.8 billion for various state sectors and the private sector.

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