28 November 2021
ICT Minister, Iraqi, Jordanian Counterparts Discuss Cooperation in ICT

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has held extensive discussions with the Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Ahmad Hanandeh, and the Minister of Communications in Iraq Arkan Shahab al-Shaibani, who are visiting Cairo. They discussed enhancing cooperation and strengthening tripartite relations in ICT.

The discussions come within the framework of the tripartite cooperation summits, the first round of which kicked off in Cairo in March 2019 under the auspices of the heads of the three countries.

An extensive meeting was held in the presence of several senior officials at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the Iraqi Ministry of Communications, and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in Jordan.

During the meeting, Talat underlined that the ties between the three countries are deep-rooted in history and geography. He stressed the importance of strengthening those ties in ICT to serve the peoples of the three countries, in view of the technological advancement and the Fourth Industrial Revolution that the world is witnessing, which embraces different technologies and can be leveraged to tackle the challenges facing societies.

Talaat explained the proposed areas of cooperation between the three countries, which include building digital capacity, fostering entrepreneurship, and providing opportunities for young people in the three countries to establish startups capitalizing on modern technology. He also discussed cooperation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can be employed in several areas, including healthcare, water resources management, environment, agriculture, and Arabic text processing. This is in addition to cooperation in interconnection and in providing access to cyberspace for a greater number of citizens in the three countries, thus helping achieve digital unity and technological renaissance.

For his part, al-Shaibani highlighted that the three strategic areas of cooperation will pave the way for cooperation in other areas. He said that he looks forward to establishing government-backed partnerships between the private sectors in the three countries, which will help create job opportunities for young people. He stated that a proposal has been made to invite private companies and startups in the three countries to a forum to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Basra, or Aqaba, with the aim to achieve cooperation and establish partnerships.

The Iraqi Minister praised the Egyptian experience in AI, adding that Iraq has plans to employ AI in 2022. He said that he looks forward to collaborating with Egypt and Jordan to benefit from their expertise in this field and expressed his interest to cooperate in the field of fiber-optic cables, which is of great importance given its benefits for other applications.

Furthermore, Hanandeh stated that the tripartite meeting is the first, but will not be the last. He stressed that the ICT sector in the three countries can play a vital role in strengthening the historical ties that bring together the three countries, the people of which represent half of the Arabic language speakers and end consumers in the region.

Hanandeh said that the world is witnessing intellectual, social, political, and digital transformation, adding that the digital transformation is the basis of all transformation operations in view of the new concepts that the world is embracing. He stressed the importance of empowering and supporting young people, as part of strengthening partnership between the three countries.

The Jordanian Minister expressed his interest in cooperation in AI and digital capacity building, especially since Jordan is in the process of developing its AI strategy. Hanandeh said that he looks forward to benefiting from the Egyptian experience in that field and to establishing concrete partnership to employ such technology in different fields.

The Iraqi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Nayef Al Dulaimi referred to the depth of the historical ties that bring Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan together, based on mutual respect and common interest. He stressed that Egypt has leading experience, expertise, and competencies, adding that he looks forward to enhancing cooperation and benefiting from the Egyptian experience.

For his part, Jordan's Ambassador to Egypt Amjad Adaileh underlined that the three countries have economic advantages that can be leveraged to achieve integration. He said that the cooperation represents a political and economic pillar as well as the future for the three countries’ people, which represent much of the population of the Arab world. Adaileh praised the achievements that Egypt is making in the era of the new republic, which represents a success for all Arabs.

During the meeting, the three ministers stressed that there are directives from the political leadership in the three countries to build concrete partnerships to serve citizens.

Moreover, the Chairman of the Egyptian National Post Organization (ENPO) Sherif Farouk talked about Egypt Post’s role of in cementing the digital system in Egypt. He explained the Egyptian-Iraqi-Jordanian cooperation during the Universal Postal Union (UPU) meetings, where the three countries always express similar visions. Farouk also pointed out the proposed areas of cooperation in the postal, banking and government services provided by the Post.

The Vice President Chief International and Wholesale Officer at Telecom Egypt Seif Allah Mounib reviewed his company's projects in the field of global cables and interconnection, which are in line with the state's plan in the global cable industry. Mounib talked about the 17-year-long cooperation with Jordan in the global infrastructure and referred to the proposed areas of tripartite cooperation in this field.

For her part, the Advisor to the ICT Minister for AI Golestan Radwan reviewed the pillars of the National AI Strategy and her vision to achieve development and prosperity. She presented the current AI projects in Egypt and the existing local and international partnerships. Radwan also referred to the cooperation with Jordan and Iraq within the Arab AI Working Group under the aegis of the League of Arab States (LAS).

The President of Egypt University of Informatics (EUI) Reem Bahgat gave a presentation on the vision of EUI, the first ICT-specialized university in the region. She underlined that EUI aims to provide world-class education modeling on top-notch international universities. The aim is to keep up with modern technological advancements, meet the needs of the global market, and prepare young Egyptians and Arabs for the future. Bahgat also explained EUI educational system and academic programs.

Furthermore, the Director of the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) Iman Ashour talked about the initiatives implemented by NTI in collaboration with international companies to provide technical training supported with international certifications. She presented NTI efforts in preparing trainers nationwide and pointed to the possibility of a tripartite cooperation in the training of trainers through online interactive programs.

From her side, the Chairwoman of the Information Technology Institute (ITI) Heba Saleh highlighted that ITI, as one of MCIT training arms, offers an array of initiatives in cooperation with the private sector to provide training on the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, information security and blockchain. She pointed out the possibility of establishing a tripartite cooperation through twinning and benefiting from the online initiatives that ITI offers.

The visit of the Iraqi and Jordanian delegations to Egypt lasts for two days. The two delegations are scheduled to visit Telecom Egypt’s regional data center, and ITI and NTI premises. In addition, the delegations will meet with officials from Egypt Post and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and visit NTRA National Center for ICT Service Quality Control and Monitoring as well as the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) headquarters.

From MCIT, the Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Raafat Hindy, the Deputy Minister for Institutional Development Ghada Mostafa, the Assistant Minister for Global Information Infrastructure (GII) Mohamed Nasr Eldin, and NTRA Executive President Hossam El-Gamal attended the meeting.

From Iraq, the meeting was attended by the Director of the Office of the Iraqi Minister of Communications Haider Mohamed Jawad, the Assistant General Manager for Technical Affairs at the Informatics and Telecommunications Public Company (ITPC) Adel Jabbar Hassan, the Assistant General Manager for Technical Affairs at the Post and Savings Public Company Yasser Amer Abdel Jabbar, and the Director of Protocol Affairs at the Ministry of Communications in Iraq Haitham Jassem.

From Jordan, the Vice Chairman – Commissioner/Board Member at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC-Jordan) Nael Adwan, the Economic Counselor at the Embassy of Jordan Muhannad Ghosh, and the Senior Secretary at the Embassy of Jordan Asmaa Bashmaf attended the meeting.

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