13 November 2021
ICT Minister Partakes in Paris Peace Forum, Delivers Talk on Bridging Digital Divide for Universal Post-Covid Recovery


The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has participated in Paris Peace Forum, delivering a talk in a virtual panel discussion on bridging the digital divide for a universal post-Covid recovery. The discussion was attended by the Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation in Togo, the Director-General for International Partnerships at the European Commission, and Bluetown CEO, and was moderated by the Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Talaat underlined that the economic reform measures that Egypt is adopting had a positive impact on increasing the country's ability to face the challenges posed by the pandemic on several levels. He explained that one of the most prominent reform efforts is the implementation of an ambitious plan to enhance the digital infrastructure nationwide.

Talaat stated that a number of projects are being implemented in cooperation between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and all the state sectors to adapt technology in tackling the challenges imposed by the pandemic. Those projects included cooperating with the Ministry of Health in carrying out a telemedicine project and partnering up with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to enable distance learning to serve 16 million students. That project involved providing tablets to one million students in the third year of preparatory education and starting to manufacture tablets in Egypt to make them affordable for students.

Moreover, the ICT Minister said that a number of initiatives are being implemented to employ the latest technologies to better serve citizens, boost productivity, support the national economy, and promote the culture of using the Internet and facilitate citizens' access to it. Talaat stressed that efforts continue to be exerted to boost the Internet, resulting in doubling the Internet speed over the past two years, reaching 44.7 Mbps in July 2021, compared with 15 Mbps in November 2019, according to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index.

Talaat added that new frequency bands were offered and allocated to the companies licensed to provide mobile services in Egypt by the end of 2020, as part of the efforts to boost 4G networks. He also said that MCIT is working to install fiber optic cables in 4,500 villages in three years to serve more than 58 million people, as part of Decent Life presidential initiative.

That ICT Minister highlighted that the government has launched several initiatives to build a digital skill pool to cover the Egyptian ICT sector’s needs. One of the most prominent initiatives is Future Work is Digital (FWD), a state-funded program that aims to hone young people’s skills in freelancing and help them fill in decent job opportunities in the global labor market. Talaat underscored that the technological training budget was doubled 22 fold in three years, increasing the number of trainees 50 times to reach 200,000 by the end of the current fiscal year.

Talaat revealed that Egypt has the largest number of startup deals and investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a result of increasing startup-oriented investments, which amounted to more than $390 million during the first three quarters of this year.

The ICT Minister referred to the state’s efforts to support the technology innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem over the next five years, including establishing CREATIVA Innovation Hubs, an all-encompassing system for fostering entrepreneurs through proving incubation and business acceleration programs, training and support to get funded. He added that seven Hubs have been established in different governorates, with 10 more centers to be established soon.

Furthermore, Talaat underlined that Egypt is allocating huge investments to research and development (R&D), in-depth training and learning opportunities, and to building international partnerships to create a base of experts in advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science and Internet of Things (IoT) to address the challenges facing the Egyptian society. He also said that the Egyptian government made great strides in digital transformation as part of Digital Egypt strategy, as nearly 100 services were made available through Digital Egypt platform. He added that the pandemic has helped increase people’s use of digital services.

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