57 FIRM FOUNDATIONS for the KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY Egypt had a strong presence in the first phase of the summit in December 2003, when President Hosni Mubarak announced the Egyptian Information Society Initiative and Egypt’s presence was equally significant this year in Tunis. The year 2005 was marked by direct bilateral cooperation with thirteen African countries. Additionally, the project completed Phase II of NTRA automation. Also a new project was launched with USAID to support Egyptian entrepreneurship development. A number of MoUs were signed with European countries such as France, Hungary, Cyprus, and Finland marking a new level of cooperation with these partners. Visits were exchanged with Estonia, France, Finland, Cyprus, Hungary and Austria, as well as joint committee meetings. On the African bilateral level , Egypt has continued its support for the development agenda of its African neighbours. The year 2005 was marked by direct bilateral cooperation with thirteen African countries. MoUs, joint committees and exchange of visits took place with Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Guinea, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and Botswana. On the Arab level , joint committees were held with Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan aimed at promoting and fostering bilateral cooperation with Egypt in the ICT field. Egypt, represented by MCIT, plays a leading role in seven Arab working groups that stem f rom t he League of Ar ab St a t es ' Ar ab Telecommunications Council of Ministers. Within Asia , cooperation with MCIT moved to new levels, focusing on a total of nine countries. MCIT received delegations from Malaysia, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Georgia, and China during 2005 to identify areas of cooperation mainly in the fields of research and development, e-Content, e- Learning, e-Government, and the documentation of natural and cultural heritage. MoUs which had previously been signed with South Korea, China, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Ukraine, were used to progress plans for cooperation during WSIS Phase II. Plans included collaboration of respective postal services. Proposals for further MoUs were received from Tajikistan and Georgia. In Washington DC, the delegation met with US Congressmen, the Directors of the National Science Foundation, Communication Commission, USAID, and the EXIM bank. 56 I n t e r n a t i o n a l R e l a t i o n s Highlights of Bilateral Cooperation High Level Delegation Visits the US Dr Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, headed a high-level delegation, to the US in June 2005 to present the achievements of the ICT sector in Egypt, and opportunities for foreign investment. A trade mission including twenty two Egyptian ICT companies accompanied the delegation, in addition Washington DC, the delegation met with US Congressmen, the Directors of the National Science Commission, USAID, and the EXIM bank. Meetings also took place with representatives of the State Department, the Department of Commerce, and the World Bank. The delegation also met with Egyptian expatriates working in ICT to introduce the latest developments in the Egyptian ICT sector, new policies regulating the sector, and potential cooperation opportunities with the Egyptian community living in the US. The delegation was able to discuss with multinationals investment opportunities and raise awareness on the ICT industry potentials in Egypt. Among the companies the delegation visited were MCI, Microsoft, VeriSign, Intel, Cisco, Oracle, convergence, venture capital, e-Learning and technology development. United States Agency for International Development The information and communication technology programme, administered by General Dynamics, provided technical assistance to MCIT and its partner organizations. Joint programmes include ICT4SME, which is an outreach programme for Small and Medium Enterprises. NTRA also received technical assistance from the USAID project with respect to Triple Play issues, Carrier of Last Resort, Comparative Analysis of Telecommunications Services, and others.