11 March 2022
ICT Minister Witnesses Signing Agreement to Grant M.Sc. from USM within DEBI

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) via videoconference. This agreement is regarding granting a master’s degree in business analysis within the financial technology track for students enrolled in the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI), launched by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

The agreement aims to build and hone specialized digital competencies with a set of integrated skills through an intensive academic and practical program, in cooperation with major international universities and specialized international companies to enable young people to implement Digital Egypt projects and enhance their competitive capabilities in the global labor market.

Established in 1969, USM is a leading multidisciplinary research university. Under the cooperation, the teaching staff of USM will provide courses in the business analysis program within the financial technology track, guide and advise students enrolled in the program, suggest topics for students’ course projects and participate in projects evaluation.

The academic program lasts for one year consisting of two semesters. Outstanding graduates of various colleges and specializations such as economics, commerce, management, business administration, accounting, Business Information Systems (BIS), marketing as well as engineering and computer science can enroll in this program. The first batch of the program will start in March 2022, the second batch will begin in March 2023, the third batch will start in March 2024, and the last one will complete the program by February 2025.

Commenting on the agreement, the ICT Minister emphasized that this agreement represents the first fruitful cooperation at the bilateral level between Egypt and Malaysia in ICT. Also, it is the first agreement signed within DEBI in financial technology by granting a master’s degree in business analysis, which is of great importance at the current stage.

Talaat pointed out that DEBI includes a wide range of areas to serve the requirements of the labor market in the future This cooperation will result in adding the financial technology specialization with a promising university in a friendly country known for the renaissance in ICT. He said that he looks forward to expanding cooperation in related fields with Malaysia and USM.

The ICT Minister also announced that the first batch of DEBI is due for graduation this March in data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cybersecurity, in cooperation with the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Assistant Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs Ambassador Ayman Kamel indicated that a road map was drawn up at the level of the political leadership of the two countries in June 2021 to deepen relations. He explained that the Egyptian Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit Malaysia in the second half of this month. He noted that there is an existing academic cooperation between the two countries, where about five thousand Malaysian students study at Al-Azhar University. Moreover, Egyptian students are also studying in Malaysia.

Egyptian Ambassador to Malaysia Ragae Nasr expressed his happiness to coordinate with USM to achieve academic cooperation within DEBI. He pointed out that the signing of this agreement and the academic cooperation it includes add a new dimension to enriching cooperation between Egypt and Malaysia.

Malaysian Ambassador to Egypt Zamani Ismail pointed to the depth and diversity of relations and areas of cooperation within the framework of bilateral relations between Egypt and Malaysia, whether in trade, investment, security, information, culture, or other areas. He explained that this agreement will add academic cooperation between the two countries.

Zamani referred to the distinction of USM as a research university that provides high-quality educational services to students. In addition, he pointed to the follow-up on the economic development in Egypt and his eagerness to contribute to supporting the Egyptian competencies, especially in light of the distinction of various educational institutions in Malaysia, including USM. USM is among the top five universities in Malaysia as well as the 39th worldwide in sustainable development. It is also the first in Malaysia in terms of employing graduates.

ITIDA CEO Amr Mahfouz stressed that ITIDA is keen to build and hone a base of competencies with the skills required by the global labor market. He indicated that the agreement will contribute to preparing human calibers specialized in the technology of analysis and intelligence of business data. This comes within the areas recommended within the Digital Egypt Strategy for Offshoring Industry, which is implemented by ITIDA.

The Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka mentioned that fintech is a unique track that represents the essence of development and innovation in the design and provision of financial and banking services. She stated that the global fintech market is expected to grow gradually, reaching its value of approximately $324 million by 2026, with an annual growth rate of about 25% in 2022-2027. Accordingly, the demand for this emerging field will locally, regionally, and internationally continue to increase, and employment opportunities are very promising for graduates of this field.

Vice-Chancellor of USM Professor Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan expressed his pleasure with the selection of USM as a partner to Egypt, especially in light of the USM excellence in the quality of education, supporting the Egyptian efforts in raising competencies to support the digital transformation process. He indicated that USM provides its services to countries including China, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, and Libya.

The cooperation agreement was signed by Mahfouz and Adikan, in the presence of various MCIT officials, several professors of engineering and computer science, academic advisors to MCIT, and various USM officials.

DEBI was launched by MCIT as a free scholarship that targets top-performing graduates of national and private universities in Egypt, at the Faculty of Engineering, Computers and Information, Sciences (Mathematics, Computer or Statistics Departments), Applied Arts, Fine Arts, Economics, Business Administration, and Urban Planning, from different governorates. Students are selected based on specific admission criteria.

DEBI Spring 2021 Semester has already started. The Initiative is aimed at granting learners a master’s degree in one of the following majors: Data Science and AI; Cybersecurity; Robotics and Automation; Digital Architecture; Digital Arts; and Fintech; in collaboration with top-notch international universities.

The cooperation agreement is one in a series of agreements concluded between DEBI and prestigious international universities, including the University of Ottawa in Canada, Ohio State University in the US, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in Korea, Queen’s University in Canada, and University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland.

MCIT, within DEBI, collaborates with several local and international companies specializing in ICT to help learners gain hands-on experience, as well as with leading companies and institutions to develop the students’ leadership, soft, and language skills.

For more information, please visit DEBI website, or call 15388.

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