Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
25 October 2019
ICT Minister Opens African Ministers of Communication and Information Technology Conference in Sharm El Sheikh

Egypt has won the chairmanship of the Bureau of the African Union (AU) Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Communication and ICT from 2019 to 2021, unanimously. Burundi, Malawi and Sierra Leone have been elected as members of the new bureau.

Egypt’s selection came during the opening ceremony of the Conference of African Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technology that the ICT Minister Amr Talaat opened, today. The conference is held within the framework of the Third Ordinary Session of AU STC on Communication and ICT (CCICT-3), hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, on October 22-26. Representatives of 37 African states and 11 ICT ministers attended the conference.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao, and a number of experts and AU representatives headed by the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid, the Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) John OMO, and the Secretary-General of the Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU) Younouss Djibrine.

After announcing Egypt’s winning, Talaat thanked the ministers and heads of delegations for entrusting Egypt with the chairmanship of the AU STC on Communication and ICT from 2019 to 2021. He underlined Egypt’s keenness on enhancing cooperation with African countries, and its pride in its African ancestry dating back centuries ago.

Talaat complimented the Bureau’s former session in Ethiopia, commended its genuine achievements, and promised that the new council will exert a great effort and do its best.

Members of the Bureau are responsible for following up on the Third Ordinary Session’s resolutions and recommendations, as well as holding one ordinary meeting at least, a year after the STC session.

During his opening speech, Talaat stated that the conference furthers the Third Ordinary Session’s discussions. The conference discussed a number of topics, on top of which was the comprehensive strategy for digital transformation in Africa, in collaboration with the concerned United Nations (UN) organizations and international entities. The strategy aims to achieve digital transformation through adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s technological applications that hopefully will provide unprecedented opportunities of sustainable development in Africa.

The ICT Minister added that Egypt has been keen on crafting initiatives complying with the African strategy for digital transformation and representing the African nations’ will, adopted and highly supported in light of Egypt’s chairmanship of the AU. These initiatives include the African App Launchpad (AAL), the African cooperation in digital transformation, and the initiative for empowering the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) using ICTs.

Moreover, Talaat highlighted the significance of proceeding work in the second phase of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) that contributes to accelerating continental integration and economic development. This is in addition to the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) program. He underlined the importance of supporting security and prevention mechanisms through cybersecurity.

The ICT Minister suggested forming an African team of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts to bring about a unified situation on the effect of AI on sectors of high priority such as education, health and agriculture, to be discussed in relevant international events.

Talaat also suggested establishing an applied research center for AI in Egypt to adopt this technology to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Proposals of projects shall be submitted to the AU and all partners, along with developing a comprehensive framework for capacity building.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao highlighted the significance of driving ICT in Africa. He commended the efforts to implant ICTs for development, and stated that the ITU harnesses all its potentials for a better future in Africa and the world.

For her part, Abou-Zeid underlined the importance of the topics discussed during the conference, especially those relevant to digital transformation and capacity building, pertaining to the AU Agenda 2063 for development.

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