By Mohamed Alaa Eldin
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb inaugurated the Cairo ICT 2014 exhibition and conference Tuesday. It is the 18th session of the conference, and will be held until 7 November under the slogan “In the Heart of the Future”. The event will be attended by Communications Ministers Atef Helmy, Transportation Minister Hany Dahi, Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel, International Cooperation Minister Naglaa Al Ahwany, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali, and Military Production Minister Ibrahim Younes.
The opening ceremony was attended by many Arab and international delegations, including the UAE, Lebanon, Yemen, Qatar, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Benin.
Mehleb said the current phase is filled with challenges within various sectors, including the telecommunications and information technology sector. He added that the global telecommunications sector has grown at significant rates, which represented a burden on the state in attempting to catch up with the rest of the world’s nations.
Mehleb said Egypt requires technological zones in each governorate, explaining that technology plays an important role in eliminating corruption through information centres. He stated that he has requested the ministries of Communication and Local Development coordinate together to improve the system of information centres in rural areas.
He also explained that the government has developed a number of services for citizens that depend on technology, including the bread and subsidy systems. He stressed the government’s keenness on accelerating the process of implementing the unified license system, especially as the telecom sector is characterised as a service sector and is able to receive investments.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Atef Helmy, emphasised the communications sector’s ability to restore growth rates in light of the state having taken the initiative to do so. He said the near future will witness a transition toward a digital economy, which will help increase the sector’s contributions to the GNP to EGP 66bn by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015. He projected that the sector would contribute EGP 195bn by 2020. Growth rates will reach 18%, he said, creating nearly 1m job opportunities.
Helmy said electronics manufacturing is one of the Ministry’s most important priorities, pointing out that investments worth EGP 80bn will be injected into this field by 2020.
“The president requested that we finish the development plan for the sector as soon as possible,” he said, adding that this plan includes strategic goals aimed at achieving social justice.
“New foreign investments will be attracted in the near future,” Helmy said, “by granting investors a package of incentives to encourage investment in the Egyptian market.”
He stressed that the Egyptian government is close to jumpstarting the unified licence system, denying any intentions to delay the process. He explained that the second company to develop, operate, and rent the communications infrastructure that will play a crucial role in improving the quality of communications services in various parts of Egypt.