10 December 2021
ICT Minister, Saudi Vice ICT Minister Discuss Cooperation in DX, Capacity Building

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has received the Saudi Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haytham AlOhali to discuss enhancing cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in ICTs, especially digital transformation, and capacity building.

They discussed cooperating to launch a hackathon in Egypt to bring Egyptian youth, including programmers, developers, and content writers, together to heavily engage in enriching digital Arabic content. This is within the framework of the Digital Giving Initiative, the first-of-its-kind voluntary initiative specialized in digital content. The initiative is aimed at raising public awareness of and enriching digital Arabic content.

During the meeting, Talaat highlighted the areas of cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in ICT, including cooperation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), telecommunications regulation, and putting the mutual recognition of electronic signature into force between the two countries to facilitate investment and business.

Talaat referred to the capacity building initiatives that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) launched and said that MCIT established Egypt University of Informatics (EUI) at the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital. EUI is the first specialized university in ICT and related fields in Africa and the Middle East, he said, inviting Saudi youth to study at EUI, which offers world-class education.

Talaat shed light on the efforts of the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID), which MCIT established to build the capacities of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in technology and help create an inclusive society using assistive technologies. He stressed the importance of harnessing digital technology to serve PwDs.

For his part, AlOhali underlined that ICT play a vital role in development and that the pandemic helped reflect that role. AlOhali referred to the development of digital government in Saudi Arabia and praised the renaissance seen in the ICT sector in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Vice ICT Minister praised the Egyptian experiences in supporting entrepreneurship and building digital capabilities, especially those related to honing freelancing skills through the Future Work is Digital (FWD) initiative. He also commended the efforts made by the Information Technology Institute (ITI) and the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI), the training arms of MCIT. AlOhali showed special interest in NTI Fiber Optics Training Program.

AlOhali presented the objectives of the Digital Giving Initiative to create a community the digital Arabic content that would benefit 22 million people and engage 280,000 volunteers. He said that the Egyptian youth are the second largest user of the initiative.

The meeting was attended by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) CEO Amr Mahfouz, ITI Chairwoman Heba Saleh and NTI Director Iman Ashour.

From the Saudi side, the meeting was attended by the Assistant Deputy Minister for Future Skills and Digital Knowledge Faris AlSaqabi; Chief Of Staff, Vice-Minister Office Ahmed Altuwayjiri; and General Manager of International Cooperation at the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Akram Jadawi.

AlOhali and his accompanying delegation visited ITIDA, ITI and NTI premises. They held meetings to discuss enhancing cooperation.

It is worth noting that AlOhali is visiting Egypt to attend the 42nd Session of the Executive Council of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), held in Cairo on December 6-9, and hosted by the Ministry of Higher Education. During the session, the establishment agreement for the Digital Giving Initiative was signed by Saudi Arabia and ICESCO as the regional partner of the initiative.

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