24 October 2022
ICT Minister Talks High-tech Exports at Egyptian Economic Conference 2022


The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a speech during a panel session titled “Towards a Roadmap for Promoting High-Tech Exports,” as part of the Egyptian Economic Conference 2022.
 
The session was joined by House of Representatives’ ICT Committee Head Ahmed Badawy, the Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunication (CIT) Chairman Khaled Ibrahim, Vice President Middle East and North Africa, Siemens EDA, Siemens Digital Industries Software Hazem El Tahawy; General Manager and Technology Leader at IBM Egypt Marwa Abbas; Head of Vodafone Intelligent Solutions (VOIS), Egypt Center and Global Care at Vodafone Ramy Kato, and General Manager of Vivo Mobile Egypt Gavin ZhengMing.
 
The ICT Minister emphasized that the exports of the ICT sector are based on innovation, creativity, and creative work, which makes them so valuable. He added that the ICT sector comes at the forefront of the state sectors, which are capable of and responsible for promoting Egypt’s exports and increasing its capabilities to attract foreign investments.
 
The ICT Minister declared that Egypt is witnessing a breakthrough in achieving digital transformation, in light of implementing numerous national projects with investments amounting to EGP 50 billion . He pointed out that digital economy objectives are to increase digital exports, increase local demand for digital solutions, and create decent job opportunities.
 
In his remarks, Talaat reviewed the features of the strategy of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to promote digital value. The strategy is based on three main pillars: digital transformation, outsourcing, and entrepreneurship. He stated that the budget of the ICT sector has increased during the current fiscal year by 22.6% compared to the previous fiscal year.
 
Talaat also highlighted the most prominent digital transformation projects implemented by MCIT in cooperation with all the state sectors. These projects include the government's relocation to the New Administrative Capital and its transition to a participatory paperless government, as well as the “Ahmos” project, which is aimed at restructuring software systems for most government agencies. This is in addition to numerous projects to digitize the services provided by different ministries.
 
The ICT Minister added that with regard to the outsourcing industry, MCIT targets four main pillars: corporate business process outsourcing, IT services, specialized professional services, and engineering research and development (R&D).
 
The ICT Minister referred to MCIT efforts to support digital innovation and entrepreneurship. A plan has been implemented to increase the technological innovation hubs from three to 30 hubs by establishing CREATIVA Innovation Hubs nationwide at total investments of EGP 4.2 billion. Eight CREATIVA Innovation Hubs were established in the first phase of the project and 12 new Hubs are currently being established in the second phase of the project, which will be opened next year. The third phase, which will include seven Hubs, will be implemented in 2024.
 
Talaat pointed to the enablers of MCIT strategy for increasing digital value, including building capabilities, providing incentives to outsourcing companies, providing digital infrastructure, and hosting all types of companies, from startups to giant companies, in one hub to achieve integration among them in business and products.
 
Talaat noted that contracts have been signed to house 27 local and global companies specializing in electronics design and embedded software at a single hub in the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital. Currently, negotiations are conducted with a global lab operator and startup incubator. Talaat underlined that a plan was drawn up to restructure the incentives offered to global companies to encourage them to operate in Egypt and export its digital services.
 
The ICT Minister mentioned that the digital infrastructure was developed and Internet speed was increased to 45 Mbps compared to 5.6 Mbps in mid-2018 and 7 Mbps at the end of 2018. He pointed out that the number of cell towers increased from 1,200 in 2020 to 2,300 in 2021. This year, around 2,850 towers are targeted, 2,389 of which have been established. Talaat declared that frequencies have been allocated to mobile network operators (MNOs) with investments of $2 billion.
 
Talaat said that MCIT is keen on implementing technical training initiatives within the framework of its capacity-building strategy. The initiatives are implemented based on several factors, including the diversity of disciplines and intensity level, reaching high-value technologies. MCIT training and capacity-building initiatives are implemented following a methodology of inclusiveness, quality, discipline, expertise, and professionalism, in addition to building an integrated and diversified training track targeting various educational levels and all academic disciplines.
 
The ICT Minister reviewed the most prominent indicators of the ICT sector. The sector achieved the highest growth rate of 16.3% among different state sectors. The volume of digital exports reached $4.9 billion in 2021/2022 compared to $3.6 billion in 2018/2019. Furthermore, foreign investments in ICT startups increased from $190 million in 2020 to $490 million in 2021.
 
The ICT Minister added that the number of trainees and the budget for technical training increased over the past years to reach 225,000 trainees with a budget of EGP 1.3 billion in the current fiscal year, compared to 4,000 trainees with a budget of EGP 50 million in 2018/2019, focusing on high-value disciplines. He pointed out that the number of employees in the sector increased from 256,000 in 2018/2019 to 340,000 employees in the last fiscal year.
 
Participants in the session also reviewed the most significant elements supporting the high-tech ICT industry, the most prominent opportunities in light of the growing global demand for this industry, as well as the most significant challenges and solutions proposed to steadily increase the volume of the industry to drive economic growth and sustainable development in Egypt.
 
The role of the legislative body in supporting the industry and promoting high-tech exports was also discussed. Its role includes issuing laws and legislations that help keep pace with global technological developments and encourage and attract more investments to Egypt. In addition, the session discussed the significant role of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the growth of the ICT sector as well as the significance of supporting and encouraging these companies to export their services.
 
The participants highlighted that global companies are interested in investing in Egypt thanks to its numerous capabilities and competitive advantages, including the provision of initiatives to upskill young tech talents, the breakthrough that Egypt is witnessing in digital transformation and digital services provided to citizens and companies, and the efforts made to develop the information infrastructure.
 
Moreover, the participants also addressed the most prominent challenges facing the industry, such as the brain drain, the gap between the real market requirements and the skills of graduates, and the lack of expertise in R&D. They also underlined the significance of providing high-quality intensive training programs in technology disciplines and foreign languages to qualify young people to access the labor market.
 
In addition, the session stressed the significance of promoting R&D activities, facilitating work procedures, and promoting Egypt’s advantages in the high-tech ICT industry to attract foreign investments to the Egyptian market.

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