Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
7 March 2022
ICT Minister Delivers Talk at ‘Digital Egypt: Vision, Execution’ Event at GUC

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a talk at the “Digital Egypt: Vision and Execution” event, organized by the German University in Cairo (GUC).

In his talk, the ICT Minister emphasized that the pandemic has contributed to accelerating the pace of digital transformation and the growing demand for the ICT industry. He explained that the post-pandemic most prominent feature of the new normal is the devotion to the importance of digital transformation as a fundamental business model and driver to develop the business of the private sector. This is in addition to changing the nature of jobs in light of the growing demand for specialists in data science, cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other technological jobs.

Talaat explained that the current era is witnessing a growing importance of data as a wealth that drives progress and serves citizens. Whereas the challenge of ensuring the accuracy of data has emerged, the need for AI systems to digitally match and correct data has increased.

GUC President Yasser Hegazy, Director of International Policy Planning Ambassador Nihad Zikry, deans of faculties, faculty members, and university students attended the session.

In his talk during the event, Talaat stressed that digital transformation is the mainstay of achieving comprehensive and sustainable development goals (SDGs), tackling climate challenges, increasing the efficiency of administrative systems, and providing job opportunities.

The ICT Minister clarified that, according to the analyses of think tanks, the pandemic has reduced the period of technology adoption for individuals and companies to one fifth of the pre-pandemic required period. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), nearly 70% of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have globally devoted their efforts to digital transformation, while various statistics have shown an increase in internet use during the pandemic by 50-70% compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is in addition to the growing consumption of digital content by citizens, and the creation of digital platforms by companies and individuals . Talaat noted that at the onset of the pandemic, internet use in Egypt increased by 100%, while peak hours increased from three to 16-18 hours.

Talaat pointed out that the world is witnessing a change in the dynamics of work and economic activities, which has resulted in reshaping the preferences of individuals and the priorities of different sectors.

The ICT Minister stated that the trend towards remote work has increased worldwide, reaching 60%, according to a survey conducted by a think tank. The importance of data centers and cloud computing has increased. In addition, the trend towards digital transformation in education has increased in light of expectations for the continuation of the hybrid education system. Moreover, the importance of digital skills has increased at all levels.

Talaat said that the pandemic has imposed requirements to facilitate the lives of citizens, including providing digital services, providing access to the internet, creating mechanisms for remote work, as well as increasing interest in innovation and training.

The ICT Minister reviewed the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to keep pace with the requirements of the new normal by transforming into an integrated digital society, as more than 125 government services have been launched on the Digital Egypt platform. Work is also underway to move the government to the New Administrative Capital as a participatory, paperless government. This is in addition to developing applications using Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Applied Innovation Center (AIC).

Talaat explained that within the framework of enhancing internet access, the efficiency of the network was raised through a project that was launched early in 2019 to develop the information infrastructure, which contributed to doubling the speed of the Internet about eight times, making Egypt the first in Africa, in terms of internet speed. Moreover, a project targeting connecting villages with fiber-optic cables has been launched to deliver high-speed internet to 3.5 million homes to serve 60 million citizens in villages of the “Decent Life” initiative within three years.

The ICT Minister added that work is underway to create an environment that stimulates innovation and provides specialized training for youths in governorates. Furthermore, seven CREATIVA innovation hubs have been established as a first stage, and 14 new hubs are being established as a second stage. The number of digital skills trainees has also seen a 50-fold increase, and the technical training budget has increased 22 times within three years to reach a target of 200,000 trainees, with a budget of EGP 1.1 billion this fiscal year.

Moreover, Egypt University of Informatics (EUI) was established, andinitiatives aimed at enhancing the skills of youth in freelancing and encouraging them to work remotely were launched, including the Future Work is Digital (FWD) initiative.

After his speech, an open dialogue took place between the ICT Minister and the attending students, as various inquiries and questions were raised about Digital Egypt strategy. In response to a query about relying on data for decision-making, Talaat indicated that digital transformation is an absolute necessity to improve the services provided to citizens, conduct performance governance, and support more accurate decision-making based on sound scientific foundations.

As for priority specializations, Talaat stated that MCIT is adopting a pyramid-shaped approach. He referred to the interest in building software systems, climbing up the value ladder to data analysis, AI, and cybersecurity, then to the data center industry, electronic design, and embedded software.

The ICT Minister commented that a hub is being established in the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital for electronic design. The hub will include four laboratories and host companies working in this field. He urged young people to participate in MCIT initiatives and capacity-building programs, which are featured by their diversity and different levels to include all disciplines.

As for the contribution of women to work in the ICT sector, Talaat underlined that Egyptian women can compete in the labor market and take leadership positions. He indicated that the initiatives provided by MCIT, which are based on distance learning and hybrid training, are contributing to empowering women to train and work remotely, thus helping them to face the challenge of fulfilling their social responsibility towards their families and fulfilling their desire to build their future.

The ICT Minister also answered an inquiry about the mechanisms of attracting international companies to expand in Egypt. He revealed the efforts of MCIT to increase the number of professionally trained human calibers to provide the skills required by the companies, especially since many major companies have their outsourcing centers in Egypt, relying on Egyptian expertise.

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