The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Atef Helmy announced the activation of the national strategy to support the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) uses in Egypt.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) showcased the FOSS strategy main features during Cairo ICT Trade Fair and Forum taking place from 9 to 12 December 2013. The strategy is meant to be launched side by side with the owned source software for the public benefit.
In coordination with the committee formulating the strategy consisting of specialists and consultants of MCIT and its affiliates as well as a number of governmental entities and civil society organizations representing the private sector, MCIT relied on the Software Engineering Competence Center (SECC) as the government focal point to coordinate efforts of all stakeholders to activate the FOSS strategy.
The actions made to activate the strategy include the representation of FOSS experts in SECC Board of Trustees, forming a working group of specialists to design and follow-up on applying related initiatives and programs in coordination with the participating bodies.
The Center has already started to design and implement FOSS training programs in the field of cloud computing and mobile applications in cooperation with the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC).
The strategy works on achieving 8 main objectives which are considered the effective value of this kind of software: delivering knowledge to citizens at the lowest cost, improving transparency and effectiveness of the governmental sector, support the development of the ICT sector and maximize competitiveness for the benefit of the user, support the rational budgeting and reduce unexplained cost on technology solutions, achieve the technological independence, build the sustainable knowledge-society including users and developers, boosting micro and small companies, raising society awareness about the available solutions and promote the culture of FOSS in the different sectors of the society.
This is why, the strategy works on several pillars: proper coordination and management of the strategy and its plans on the highest level, through finding a mechanism with focus on ICT, issuing policies supporting the use and development of FOSS and integrate them to the general strategy for the sector and the development strategy of the State, support the FOSS uses in government, expansion in education and training activities to qualify calibers, develop the infrastructure to adopt FOSS, provide the funds, support micro and small enterprises and cooperation with civil society.
While the strategy provides performance standards to ensure accomplishment, it is engaged to undertake a number of preliminary projects and initiatives, for example multiplying FOSS in Egypt during the coming five years through increasing the number of companies providing its services, training curricula and certified training centers by launching three public tenders annually in the government sector for projects to spread the culture of FOSS usage, in addition to training one thousand specialized trainee in OSS annually. All of the above come through an action plan supporting the larger adoption of FOSS in Egypt
Established by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to support the Egyptian ICT industry in 2001, SECC became an affiliate to the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) since 2005. The center provides evaluation, training, development and technical consultancies for Egyptian companies in software and IT services to support and transfer advanced technology and promote the software development process and provide services through applying standards. The center is partner of leading entities like the American software engineering institute affiliated to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) offering quality certificate for development operations CMMI-DEV. More than 50 local and regional entities were certified. It also provided its services for more than 500 companies and qualified more than 15 thousand trainee in Egypt, Arab Gulf and the Middle East.