xPresident Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi launched several initiatives since 2015 in thecommunications and information technology (ICT) sector. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has assumed the responsibility toof implementing these initiatives. But has it been able to achieve them?
- Electronics design and manufacture
The first complex for electronics manufacturing in New Assiut’s Technology Park was opened in 2017, while the first mobile phone—with 45% Egyptian components—was manufactured. Work is ongoing to implement several electronics complexes in the technological areas of Beni Suef and Al Sadat City.
- The presidential initiative for technological learning and training “Future Technology Pioneers”
The first batch of the “Future Technology Pioneers” initiative has graduated, comprising 5,000 graduates in different information technology and communications-related specialisations.
The initiative provides a comprehensive framework that includes several programmes to develop human abilities. There were several programmes which graduates participated in, including intensive professional training for the Information Technology Institute, the National Telecommunications Institute programme, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre programmes, and the Disability Challenge programme.
In addition, a number of young people received training via distanceremote learning methods, as scientific, technological content is provided to them through the best interactive learning platforms. These graduates have earned accredited international certificates, in cooperation with leading companies and major universities across the world, such as Harvard, Stanford, and others.
Moreover, a programme named “Future Programmers” was launched to train school students to use the latest technologies and learn programming basics.
The activities to build programming abilities at schools are implemented through cooperation between the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Ministry of Education and Technical Education. The aim is to train about 6,000 students from the third preparatory grade and the first secondary grade from all governorates during the first phase of the programme to learn professional programming. This is to be carried out through e-learning platforms, eventually creating leaders of future technology and a large group of qualified programmers.
A cooperation agreement was signed between the National Telecommunications Institute (NTI), affiliated with the Ministry of Communications, and Cisco in order to launch an academy specialised in cyber security which would aim to provide training and implement the necessary skills to deal with the growing global challenge of cyber security.
- The presidential initiative to integrate and empower people with special abilities using technology
The Social Responsibility and Community Services Sector, affiliated towith the Ministry of Communications, has implemented several projects in the presidential initiative launched in May 2016 to integrate special needs people into the community and empower them through technology, as well as provide them with training and employment opportunities.
Egypt received the “Zero Project” award in 2017 granted to the 10 most innovative countries in terms of employment policies for disabled persons.
- Transitioning towards smart government and digital society
The e-visa project was launched, and implemented by the Communications Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministries of Interior, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs, in addition to several concerned parties. The project provides all the technological tools and mechanisms to Egyptian embassies abroad in order to provide services through integrated technological solutions, meant to improve tourism and increase the number of inbound tourists to Egypt.
The information infrastructure sector in the ministry has implemented several projects and initiatives in cooperation with all state ministries, agencies, and authorities with the aim of transitioning towards a digital society, developing the Egyptian government’s information infrastructure, working on updating databases, and ensuring their comprehensiveness.
- Cyber security
The Cybersecurity Supreme Council discussed the proposed national strategy of cyber security which was prepared by the executive bureau of the council to be submitted to the prime minister for approval.
Egypt’s rank improved to become the 14th among 194 countries listed on the Global Cybersecurity Index by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2017.
- Developing Egypt Post
The National Post Authority has mechanised over 400 post offices across the country and turned them into integrated postal services offices that offer all financial, postal, and societal services. The total number of mechanised centres now is now estimated to be 800.
This is part of the framework of the ambitious plan to enhance the concept of financial inclusion and making the Egypt Post the sole choice in Egypt for citizens in the field of financial and postal services, and also turning it into a platform that offers government services through a one-stop shop.
- Putting Egypt on the map of major data centres industry
A strategic partnership was launched between Egyptian company Silicon Waha and international NextFin to establish a complex of data in the technological zone in Buorg El-Arab in Alexandria on an area of 60,000 sqm and investments worth €50m.
According to this partnership, an Egyptian joint stock company will be established to see through the process of infrastructure and develop the complexes of data and information to allow connecting foreign service providers with content providers locally and internationally.
The data complex is expected to work as a pivotal connection point between the east and the west through utilising marine cables and utilising the distinct location of Egypt as a meeting point of the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe in Egypt, which will eventually improve the efficiency and quick response, as well as transfer, of data on an international level.
- Developing partnerships with civil society organisations
Within the framework of developing the policies and strategies of the ICT sector in partnership with civil society organisations, an agreement was made between Etisal Association and Digital Economy and Technology General Division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (ITFEDCOC) in order to prepare an annual plan that is in line with the ICT sector’s strategy to achieve integration and development in the sector. Noteworthy, aAny achievements of plans will be announced on an annual basis.
- International relations
The Central Administration of International Relations at the Ministry of Communications has sought to enhance cooperation relations with several countries that belong to different regions in a way that allows utilising leading experience in issues of concern, as well as offer the Egyptian experience on the level of the Arab region and Africa.
Within this framework, five memoranda of understanding were signed with several countries to gain more skills that benefit the Egyptian communications and IT sector as well as export Egyptian experience to these countries.
The Centre for Creativity and Capacity Development was launched within the activities of the tripartite presidential summit between Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece.
Several meetings were held with international companies to look into ways of cooperation in different fields as well as cooperate with the ITU in terms of implementing the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative launched by the World Bank, ITU, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In addition, several Arab initiatives were formulated as a result of the work of the Council of Arab Ministers of Communication and Information Technology. These initiatives were adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference, hosted by the ITU, aiming to develop communications related to entrepreneurship, digital financial inclusion, and building confidence in data security, as well as capacity building.