13 July 2021
ICT Minister, Singaporean Counterpart Witness Signing Agreement to Transfer Knowledge, Train Trainers in AI


The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity in Singapore Josephine Teo have witnessed, via videoconference, the signing of an agreement of cooperation between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and AI Singapore (AISG).

The agreement aims to establish partnerships in raising public awareness of AI, and transferring knowledge through a training of trainers (ToT) hands-on program in professional training, for specialists in that field.

The agreement was signed by the Advisor to the Minister for AI Golestan Radwan, and AISG Director of AI Innovation Laurence Liew, in the presence of Singapore's Ambassador to Egypt Dominic Goh, and Egypt’s Ambassador to Singapore Mahmoud El Maghraby, via videoconference.

Under the agreement, AISG will transfer knowledge and avail its programs, including
AI for Everyone (AI4E) and AI Apprenticeship Programme (AIAP). The Information Technology Institute (ITI) will work to make AI4E available in Arabic, on a digital platform, to help raise public awareness and promote AI literacy. ITI will also deliver specialized programs to build the capacity needed to support the employment of AI in different sector, in light of Egypt’s National AI Strategy.

The agreement also involves preparing for a twinning between AISG and the Center of Excellence (CoE) in AI, that MCIT is planning to establish soon. The two sides will cooperate in capacity building, knowledge transfer, exchange of experiences and best practices through carrying out a ToT program remotely.

Talaat stressed that Egypt is keen to use AI to achieve economic growth and development through working to build a strong and sustainable AI industry in Egypt, with focusing on its elements at the level of individuals, technology, infrastructure, legal and regulatory frameworks, and an enabling environment for the growth of such industry.

He stated that capacity building is the cornerstone of achieving such vision, through a holistic approach that includes raising public awareness, creating specialists in AI and equipping them with the necessary expertise and skills.

Talaat also highlighted that the agreement has two important pillars, namely carrying out the public awareness program AI4E to raise awareness of AI, and AIAP to link between theory and practice to create specialists and qualify them for the labor market in AI.

Moreover, Talaat stressed the importance of the present partnerships in accelerating the implementation of Egypt's National AI Strategy, which is part of a larger vision and a key element in building a Digital Egypt. He added that the agreement marks the beginning of a productive partnership between the two countries to work together in the field of AI.

Talaat invited his Singaporean counterpart to visit Egypt and explore its ICT experience more closely.

For her part, Teo stated that the pandemic reflected the importance of using digital technologies, especially AI, to overcome crises. Singapore launched its National AI Strategy in 2019, Teo added, reviewing the areas of using AI in Singapore in the diagnosis of COVID-19 and in scarce resource management to help hospitals in the event of an increase in injuries. This is in addition to using AI in the business sector to raise efficiency, planning and problem solving.

Furthermore, Teo praised the technological development that Egypt is currently witnessing. She commended the cooperation between MCIT and AISG in skill development, education and AI literacy, adding that Singapore launched training programs in AI basic skills.

Teo said that she looked forward for building on the agreement to enhance future cooperation between the two countries.

El Maghraby said that establishing a partnership between MCIT and AISG helps deepen the distinguished ties between Egypt and Singapore, and adds to the competitive advantages of the two countries. He highlighted that the next steps in the cooperation will provide opportunities for partnerships between the government and private sectors to make optimal use of AI.

For his part, Goh stated that relying on technology is an essential element for building a smart country. He praised the development of the Egyptian ICT sector and said that the aim of the partnership is to create a new platform for cooperation and exchange of experiences, in conjunction with the 55th anniversary of the Egypt-Singapore relations. Goh added that he looked forward for the partnership to contribute to further cooperation between the two countries.

Radwan stated  that the agreement is an important step in the way of implementing Egypt’s National AI Strategy, which is based on four pillars, including carrying out AI projects in the government and development sectors, as well as capacity building. She said that Egypt would translate AI4E into Arabic, then share it with the Arab countries.

She highlighted that AIAP is quite unique as it focuses on including graduates of AI programs in real-life projects implemented by MCIT, in collaboration with the private sector, in a way that helps graduates gain experience and qualify for the job market. In addition, Singapore will share its expertise with Egypt to establish the CoE in AI,
based on a scientific approach of implementing AI projects at high speed and efficiency, thus accelerating the employment of AI in various sectors.

AISG Director of AI Innovation Laurence Liew said that his country is pleased to collaborate with Egypt in applying AIAP, as well as in Research and Development (R&D) and capacity building. He pointed out that the program had successfully graduated eight batches so far, where trainees were able to create AI applications to serve projects of government institutions, international companies, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and startups. Liew added that Egypt is the first country to benefit from the program.

AISG is a national AI programme launched by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to anchor deep national capabilities in AI, thereby creating social and economic impacts, grow the local talent, build an AI ecosystem, and put Singapore on the world map.

The programme office is hosted by NUS and brings together all Singapore-based research institutions and the vibrant ecosystem of AI startups and companies developing AI products to perform use-inspired research, grow the knowledge, create the tools, and develop the talent to power Singapore’s AI efforts.

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