Technology is becoming the driving force for infrastructure, education, transportation, entrepreneurship, and industry, according to Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
Minister Al-Mashat noted that as part of this shift, global economies are shifting towards digital. In Egypt, the government is set on a digital transformation encompassing all sectors, and will see the country heading towards a paperless government with a clean energy transformation.
“Reform has to be continuous as the world is continuously changing,” the minister said, “We cannot be complacent, we have to be agile, adapting and adopting new policies and structures in order to keep pushing our economies forward.”
Her remarks came during her participation in a virtual panel discussion, titled “Technology with Purpose for the Middle East”, which was organised by Siemens Middle East.
Ronald Busch, President and CEO of Siemens AG, noted, “The whole world is in a transformation, and COVID-19 also accelerated this transformation, and we at Siemens aim to make people’s lives better by using tech with purpose.”
Minister Al-Mashat mentioned that Egypt is set on building new sustainable cities, such as the New Administrative Capital (NAC), which is set to become the country’s first smart city.
The NAC will include a city-wide digital security system, as well as a smart infrastructure, to reduce consumption and cost with a focus on renewable energy using the Internet of Things (IoT).
“A key part of building new cities is ensuring strong transportation systems,” she said, “One of Egypt’s mega transportation projects includes an electric high-speed rail network project that is being constructed in partnership with Siemens AG, to establish an integrated electric monorail system with a total length of about 1,000 km, connecting Ain Sokhna city with New Alamein City, and the New Administrative Capital.”
The minister said that while digitalisation was catalysed by the pandemic, Egypt had already taken strides towards major transformations across sectors, with education one of the key sectors to change.
Under “Education 2.0”, Egypt is focused on: digitising education by providing servers, screens and tablets to 25,000 public schools; changing the assessment model for high school and other levels of education in the future; and uploading the curricula from kindergarten through to Grade 12 to a digital library online that is freely accessible.
“Technology is essential, and it is something that should be looked at like water and electricity, it is a right that every citizen should have,” said Deema Albasseet, Strategic Performance Director at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
She added that improving the quality of learning and adopting technology serves as a vehicle to achieve reform objectives, and helps raise a generation of tech-savvy youth that will be ready for the future of jobs.
In 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation secured more than $1bn for Egypt’s digitisation wave. Development financing worth $3.19bn was also allocated to the support of the private sector and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).