The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) places great importance on Euromoney conference, in an effort to achieve the ministry’s ambitious goal of 10% growth during the current fiscal year, according to Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat.
Daily News Egypt sat down for an interview with Talaat, whereby the minister said that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) will activate a number of investment incentives during the coming period for investors in the technological parks, including a tax exemption of up to 50% for investors there. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
How do you see Euromoney Conference this year? How can MCIT benefit from it?
Euromoney is an important conference and a good opportunity to address Egyptian and foreign investors and businesspersons about investment opportunities and our ability to attract investments in Egypt.
We at the ministry will invest in this event by reviewing our strategy in the development of the ICT sector, the tax advantages offered by the state to investors, and our plans to build human cadres capable of keeping abreast of technological developments, given that the human element is one of the most attractive resources.
The Egyptian market is a strategic market. We will highlight the geographical advantages enjoyed by Egypt, which is an attractive factors for investment. Egypt is about five-hour flight from about 70 capital, which is, in itself, an investment opportunity.
What priorities present at MCIT during coming period?
We have 500,000 graduates in Egypt each year, half of them in engineering and technology fields. The trained human resources base in Egypt is wide and important. Postgraduate training is on track and we are currently trying to increase these programmes and train more specialized
cadres in the fields of communications and information technology.
What growth rates targeted by MCIT during current fiscal year?
The target growth rate is around 10%, which is higher than the government’s targeted rate of economic growth.We seek to increase the share of the ICT sector in the GDP, as we are trying to increase it to over 3.1%.
Which projects will MCIT focus on?
The ministry during the current fiscal year will focus on attracting investments in several areas, including data centres, cloud computing, value added services, Internet of Things, training, and virtual reality.
What type of mechanisms available to attract foreign investments to Egypt in accordance with ministry’s plans?
I will try to simplify our vision to attract investment. For example, the attraction of investment can be portrayed as a journey that begins from the arrival of the investor to the airport and to be able to earn profits from their project. The role of the government here is to concert efforts to overcome all the difficulties and challenges facing the investor during Amr Talaat the journey. The government, in all its bodies, have achieved a major part in this. For instance, the MCIT has provided technological parks, which complements the Unified Investment Law, along with training, and tax incentives.
What about electronics industry file?
The electronic industry file is of great interest to the ministry. An important meeting took place several days ago with the ministers of military production and education. The aim is to gather our efforts to settle the electronics industry in Egypt. We are working with an insight into the localisation of this industry. This is part of the education tablet project, which is one of the most important files in the ICT sector.
The field of electronic design is one of the areas where we have the opportunity to maximise value added.
Which steps taken, accomplished by ministry regarding educational tablet?
A ministerial committee was formed from three ministries: MCIT, Military Production, and Education to manage the manufacturing of the tablet. This resulted into three subcommittees; one for manufacturing, another for programming and content; and a third for design, research, and development. Each minister was assigned a task, where the research and development sub-committee was assigned to the Ministry of Communication. It will hold its first meeting next week, in real partnership with the private sector. We will invite specialised companies to partake in the project. The ministerial committee will meet every six weeks to follow up the work of the three committees.
Still MCIT remains dedicated to expanding establishment of technological parks?
The ministry is paying attention to the development of the ICT industry. The Technological Parks are one of the means to improve industry. It can be continued in the same manner and establish new parks or find another way. We are working on this now and we are in talks with experts in the ministry and will announce the results soon.We are also discussing means of maximising the ability of these parks in attracting investments and innovative youth to create a climate that helps creativity. This is one of the things that will be presented during the Euromoney conference.
The Ministry of Communications has established four technological parks during the past two years in Borg El Arab, Assiut, Beni Suef, and Sadat City. It is not necessary to establish a park in every governorate, but to rather create an environment that encourages creativity, training and thought.
What kind of incentives offered by ministry to investors in technological parks?
We will activate a number of investment incentives, including 50% tax exemption for investors in the technology parks, as well as other advantages, which will help attract investments in these areas and create jobs and development in the existing areas, in addition to the resettlement and dissemination of technology and creativity and entrepreneurship because there are centres of creativity and entrepreneurship in each technological park.
Any updates on role of Egypt Post in implementing state’s strategy towards financial inclusion?
Egypt Post reshapes its role, in order to be able to be utilised through two main axes: reachability and confidence. Through this, Egypt Post can increase its governmental services packages. We will soon announce more services to be provided through post offices.
In terms of financial inclusion, this is a file managed by the Central
Bank of Egypt, due to its links to the monetary policies. Our role is providing the appropriate technological infrastructure to enable Egypt Post and other bodies to play their role towards achieving financial inclusion.
Over last three years, market has been rearranged by offering a license for 4G, but Telecom Egypt still owns a stake in Vodafone. Has this file been settled?
This file has already been settled and a member of the board of directors of Vodafone has been appointed as a representative of Telecom Egypt from outside Telecom Egypt to avoid conflicts of interest. Currently, non-executive representatives of the Egyptian Telecom Company are currently being appointed.
How far can you measure your satisfaction with mobile services?
There is always room for improvement.
Any updates on legislative agenda of MCIT?
During the past period and in partnership with other ministries, many legislations have been issued including cybercrime. We are currently working on the data protection law, which is considered extremely important to help attract investments as well as law for electronic commerce.