6 December 2021
ICT Minister Attends 22nd ACPC Closing Ceremony

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has attended the closing ceremony of the twenty-second African and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship (ACPC) 2021, held under the patronage of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. ACPC is a programming Championship organized by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Luxor and joined by more than 600 students (150 teams) from 22 Arab and African countries.

Talaat delivered a speech during the closing ceremony. He said that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has promising opportunities for development due to its advantages, most notably is that 60% of the people in the region are under 25 years old. MEA, therefore, is a young region capable of absorbing today’s innovations and harnessing technology to overcome the challenges facing it and humanity.

The ICT Minister revealed that the labor market in MEA is struggling as 11 million young people enter the labor market every year, while only 3.6 million job opportunities are created by the collective economy in the region. He added that people can take advantage of the job opportunities offered in the freelancing sector; those opportunities go beyond the borders of a country and a region and competition in work becomes global.

The freelancing sector is worth over $36 billion in 2021 and its size grows at rates exceeding 20%. In addition, there are more than six million freelancers, Talaat said, adding that those with knowledge and practical experience have a competitive edge in that global market.

The ICT Minister stated that it is expected that during the years from 2021 to 2025, more than 85 million job opportunities will no longer exist, and in return, 125 million jobs will emerge. The monotonous jobs that systems can perform more accurately and at a lower cost will disappear; only a person will have the ability to be creative and innovative, and develop solutions, Talaat said. He added that the ICT sector, where opportunities abound, has become the common factor for achieving development in all sectors and industries in different countries.

Talaat reviewed the major developments occurring in the world with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which creates opportunities and poses challenges. He said that the huge increase in the number of people who relocated from the countryside to cities, around the world, represents opportunities in the ICT sector. Talaat revealed that the proportion of citizens living in cities, around the world, rose from 30% in the mid-twentieth century to more than 55%. Moreover, spending in the ICT sector is expected to increase from $4 trillion last year to $4.5 trillion in 2022, while global spending on digital transformation will reach more than $2.8 trillion.

The ICT Minister pointed out the areas of cooperation between the Egyptian ICT sector and Arab and African countries over the past three years. Cooperation included carrying out the African App Launchpad initiative, which was launched by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in November 2018, during the World Youth Forum, held in Sharm El Sheikh. The initiative involved training 10,000 young people from more than 20 Arab and African countries, on ICTs, and establishing more than 100 Arab and African startups.

Egypt is collaborating with some African countries to launch the Hybrid African Ring Path (HARP), the first-of-its-kind subsea cable outlining Africa. HARP will enable a larger number of young people in coastal and landlocked African countries to have greater access to the Internet, thus boosting their ability to receive training and compete in the labor market, Talaat stated. He referred to the cooperation with brotherly African and Arab countries to develop a set of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics.

Talaat said that he was pleased to attend the ceremony, which brings together promising youth from different countries, who compete in science, technology, and knowledge. He also commended AASTMT for its huge efforts.

Talaat added that holding ACPC this year in Luxor makes the competition even more special, as Luxor features innovation, creative thinking, and teamwork, whether in its landmarks built by the Pharaohs more than 4,000 years ago, or in the renaissance that it is currently witnessing.

At the end of his speech, the Minister called on young people to outstand to benefit from the unprecedented opportunities available in the labor market and face the current challenges represented by tough competition.

For his part, AASTMT President Ismail Abdel Ghafar said that the Academy is an Arab house of expertise, that acts as a specialized Arab organization and is one of the top universities in Egypt and the Arab world. He added that AASTMT has eight branches in Egypt and two abroad.

Abdel Ghafar thanked the success partners for organizing the Championship, the sponsors, participants, contestants, and the Prime Minister, as ACPC was organized under his auspices. He also thanked the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) for meeting the demands of the Academy throughout the Championship.

At the end of the ceremony, the ICT Minister and AASTMT President presented the awards to the winners.

The ceremony was attended by the Governor of Luxor Mohamed Abdel-Qader Khairy, and President of Luxor University Mohamed Mahgoub Azzouz.

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