Egypt’s Ministries of Communications and Information Technology, and International Cooperation, have launched a joint coordination platform for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
The platform, called “The Communications and Information Technology Sector for Development”, was launched in the presence of officials from the two ministries.
Also present at the launch were a number of multilateral and bilateral development partners, including Elena Panova, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) Office in Egypt, representatives from the African Development Bank, and others.
The strategies for developing the ICT sector, and its role in supporting the country’s development vision, were discussed.
This comes as a continuation of the periodic meetings held by the Ministry of International Cooperation to present the development efforts and reforms implemented in the various sectors of the state. It forms part of the ministry’s joint coordination cooperation platform.
The meetings are attended by multilateral and bilateral development partners, and the concerned authorities of the state, to create effective communication. This aims to accelerate the pace of development financing programmes, to implement Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Rania El-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, said that the ICT sector was pivotal during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as there was a worldwide dependence on the sector for the continuity of business and various activities.
This is in addition to also having achieved huge growth and development during the past few years. As a result, the Ministry of International Cooperation held a meeting as part of the platform for coordination cooperation to promote and present to development partners the structural reforms and developments that have taken place.
Minister Al-Mashat indicated that the joint coordination cooperation platform is the first principle of economic diplomacy launched by the Ministry of International Cooperation at the beginning of 2020.
It aims to advance international partnerships and relations with development partners to achieve sustainable development goals.
The minister said that the platform aims to achieve several goals, including: promoting structural reforms implemented in different sectors; development efforts in the various sectors of the state; opening up prospects for cooperation between government agencies; the private sector and multilateral and bilateral development partners; discussing opportunities for available partnerships; defining the development priorities of the state; and creating integration between development partners.
For his part, Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said that IT has become an essential component of development strategies in various sectors.
He pointed out his ministry’s keenness to build bridges of cooperation with international institutions to establish constructive partnerships. He stressed that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is cooperating with state agencies and institutions to implement Egypt’s digital strategy. As part of this, the implementation plans revolve around adapting digital technologies to serve citizens.
The minister added that Egypt is witnessing an unprecedented boom in digital transformation, with 75 digitised government services so far having been launched on the Digital Egypt platform.
They are also available in other outlets, namely through post offices and government service centres, and the call centre (15999). He highlighted the state’s concerted efforts to implement the project of moving the government to the New Administrative Capital (NAC) to become a participatory, smart, and paperless government.
He pointed out that investments of about $1.6bn have been pumped into improving the efficiency of Internet services during the past two years.
Talaat stressed that his ministry is participating in the presidential “Hayah Karema” initiative according to four main pathways. This includes linking villages with fibre-optic cables to raise the efficiency of Internet services for one million homes, whilst developing 906 post offices and providing them with ATMs.
In addition, the ministry is also working to improve the quality of communication services by providing villages with 1,000 participatory mobile network stations. At the same time, the ministry is implementing a training project for digital literacy and capacity building in the field of technology.
The minister noted that a plan is being implemented to develop Egyptian post offices and increase the number of branches. This will see them become an outlet to provide Egypt’s digital services and financial inclusion services, in addition to postal services.
Golestan Radwan, Advisor to the Minister of Communications for Artificial Intelligence (AI), said that a number of projects are being implemented as part of the national strategy for this technology.
This aims to use AI applications and innovative solutions to enhance and develop government operations, as well as all sectors. Under this scheme, there is a focus on the agriculture, health, economic planning, infrastructure, smart cities, industry, and Arabic language processing sectors.
It is worth noting that the Ministry of International Cooperation held a number of joint coordination cooperation platforms in various sectors during the past year, including transport, agriculture, and public business. The ministry also concluded development financing agreements worth $9.8bn for various state and private sectors.