25 October 2021
ICT Minister Showcases ICT Sector Investment Opportunities at MEDEF Session

Within the framework of the visit of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and his accompanying delegation to the French capital, Paris, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a speech in front of the heads and representatives of a group of major French companies at the headquarters of the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF).

During the session, the ICT Minister reviewed the investment opportunities available in the ICT sector in light of the implementation of "Digital Egypt" strategy, as well as the current and future cooperation projects between Egypt and France in the ICT field.

The meeting was attended by the President of the Digital Sector at MEDEF Marc Renard, and officials from a large number of French companies, including Schneider, Thales, and Atos.

In his speech, Talaat highlighted the close cooperation and constructive partnerships between the two countries in the ICT field, and the broad prospects for developing this cooperation, especially in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital capacity building, research and development, and technological innovation and entrepreneurship promotion.

He also highlighted the competitive advantages of the Egyptian ICT sector and the development that Egypt is witnessing in this industry. He pointed out that Egypt occupies the first place in attracting investments in startups in the Middle East and North Africa. It also occupied the first place in Africa and the Middle East and the fifteenth globally for the best global services and outsourcing locations. Egypt also came among the 10 fastest growing countries in digital inclusion in 2020.

Talaat added that Egypt is witnessing an unprecedented boom in digital transformation within the framework of the state's vision to adapt digital technologies in order to improve the quality of services provided to citizens. To date, a number of 90 government services have been launched on "Digital Egypt" platform, out of a target of 100 services by the end of this year. A plan is also being implemented to develop Egypt Post to become an outlet for providing Digital Egypt services and financial inclusion services. He pointed out that the country is working to adopt AI technology to find innovative solutions to the challenges facing Egyptian society. He stated that many cooperation agreements have been concluded with French companies to implement projects in applied research using AI technologies.

Talaat explained that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) doubled the investment in technical training programs 22 times within three years, to rise from 50 million pounds, targeting training 4,000 young people, to 1.3 billion pounds, targeting training 200,000 young people in various ICT sciences. He stated that the digital capacity-building strategy is implemented according to a hierarchical approach that begins with developing basic skills in technological fields, to providing opportunities for specialized education through applied technology schools and technological institutes, leading to establishing a broad base of informatics experts through Egypt University of Informatics (EUI), the first university in Africa and the Middle East specializing in ICT and related fields. This is in addition to the programs that aim to hone the skills of graduates, and granting a professional master’s degree in one of the technological disciplines in partnership with the most prestigious international universities through Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI).
Talaat emphasized the country's interest in developing entrepreneurship and supporting technological innovation; where seven hubs, within CREATIVA Innovation Hubs project, have been established, and 10 others are being established to have a hub in each governorate. Through these hubs, start-ups are incubated, business accelerators programs are provided, technical training and advisory services are offered to entrepreneurs. In addition, the Knowledge City is being established in the New Administrative Capital according to the latest international technologies to create an integrated information society that comprises all elements of the ICT system, create an environment that attracts global investments and stimulates digital creativity and creative thought.
The ICT Minister also referred to Egypt's geographical location in the heart of the world, linking Asia and Europe, making it a center for the passage of international submarine cables. A number of 13 submarine cables pass through it, and five others are currently being constructed. These cables transmit more than 90% of the data traffic in Asia and Europe. He also highlighted the efforts made to establish a strong information infrastructure nationwide, which contributed to the increase in the average Internet speed by about seven times. He also highlighted MCIT participation in the presidential initiative "Decent Life", through implementing projects for establishing an information infrastructure and provide high-speed Internet to homes in 1,400 villages nationwide, while working in parallel to implement training programs for digital literacy and digital economic empowerment of citizens in these villages.

Following the ICT Minister's speech, an open dialogue took place on "Digital Egypt" plan and strategy, and the promising Egyptian ICT sector, the country's most growing sector, with a growth rate of 16%, contributing to the GDP by 5%. The French side hailed the achievements and positive numbers achieved by the sector.

The dialogue included a discussion on training and empowerment requirements for Egyptian youth to work in the sector and promote digital transformation efforts, smart cities establishment, how to finance Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), cybersecurity, securing digital systems, AI applications to serve the financial technology sector and the necessary regulatory framework, and participatory networks.

The French company Atos, one of the world's leading companies in the fields of digital transformation, cybersecurity, cloud computing and high-performance computing, announced the expansion of its business in Egypt and the increase of the company's employees to serve the region from Egypt.

At the conclusion of the dialogue, the ICT Minister called for hosting a business mission, of the members of MEDEF, at Cairo during 2022 to enhance cooperation between the Egyptian and French sides.

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