Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
26 February 2022
ICT Minister Partakes in EMA Session

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has participated in an online reception on “Digitizing the Economy – Opportunities across Sectors and Regions,” organized by the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association (EMA e.V.). CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Amr Mahfouz and officials from EMA e.V. participated in the discussion.

Talaat said that Egypt has ranked first in Africa in fixed broadband internet speed on Speedtest Global Index by Ookla, as a result of the efforts for upgrading the information infrastructure, helping achieve a sevenfold increase in the median fixed broadband internet speed. The country also ranked high on the World Bank’s GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI) in 2020 and was among the Top 10 Improvers in Digital Inclusion, he added.

Within the framework of building Digital Egypt and achieving the transition into an all-encompassing digital society, 125 government services have been made available on the Digital Egypt platform, remarked the ICT Minister. Talaat presented the Digital Egypt strategy that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is undertaking.

He said that MCIT is implementing a capacity-building plan following a pyramid-shaped approach that starts with organizing training programs in basic ICT skills, followed by specialized training at technological schools, then advanced training through technological institutes. The approach then involves moving up to granting bachelor's and master's degrees through Egypt University of Informatics (EUI), followed by carrying out programs to upskill graduates, and ends with granting a professional master's degree through the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI). The plan will involve training 200,000 people this fiscal year at 1.1 billion EGP.

On Kearney’s Global Services Location Index (GSLI) 2021, Egypt retained the top spot in the Middle East and Africa and the 15th globally, revealed the ICT Minister, adding that the country exports digital services to about 100 destinations worldwide, in 20 languages through more than 85,000 employees in the offshoring sector.

Moreover, the ICT Minister explained that the venture capital invested in Egyptian startups grew by more than 170%. He pointed out the programs and projects implemented to promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship among young people, most notably establishing CREATIVA Innovation Hubs nationwide. Talaat highlighted MCIT efforts to build the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital to serve as an all-inclusive information society.

MCIT plays a pivotal role in the Decent Life presidential initiative; it works to upgrade the information infrastructure in the countryside, promote digital literacy, and empower citizens in villages, digitally and economically, Talaat stated. He also shed light on Egypt Post's development plan, adding that Egypt Post seeks to increase the number of post offices nationwide, automate its operations, and introduce new services.

Furthermore, the ICT Minister referred to the efforts and investments made in the field of submarine cables, capitalizing on the country’s excellent location, which helps it become a pathway for global cables.

Following his speech, Talaat had an open discussion with members of EMA e.V. The attendees had questions and inquiries about the Egyptian ICT sector. The discussion was moderated by e.V. Secretary General Clara Gruitrooy.

In response to a question about women’s empowerment, especially as women represent 30% of the ICT sector’s workforce, Talaat stated that supporting women is a commitment based on recognizing their paramount role. He said that he looked forward to that percentage increasing to 50%, especially as ICT tools enable many women to work from home.

About building and running smart cities in Egypt, the ICT Minister said, “Currently, Egypt is building 17 new smart cities across the country, that are exploiting smart solutions, such as smart services for its inhabitants or the use of exclusively green vehicles.” “Any pilot projects in these areas are welcome,” he added.

Talaat remarked, in response to another question, that there are many external opportunities to support digital transformation in Egypt. Technology has helped carve several innovative patterns, including remote work, Talaat commented, adding that young Egyptians have what it takes to compete in global markets.

The ICT Minister, also, addressed Egypt’s efforts in cybersecurity; he explained that the growing reliance on digital systems is associated with an increased risk of exposure to cyberattacks. Concrete steps are being taken to respond to potential cyberattacks to keep data and citizens safe, he added.

EMA e.V. is a regional association for German businesspeople and entrepreneurs engaged in fostering cooperation and international understanding between Germany, Europe, and the Mediterranean and Middle East region. It connects economic, political, and academic decision-makers and multipliers from various countries and sectors. The EMA presents business opportunities to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fosters the creation of sustainable partnerships, and advises member companies on initiating and implementing their plans.

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