7 November 2020
ICT Minister Delivers Speech at Techne Summit 2020 Opening


The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a speech during the opening of the sixth edition of Techne Summit conference and exhibition, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), and organized by the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), on November 7-9, at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Talaat stated that Egypt is seeing a rapid growth in digital innovation and entrepreneurship. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Egypt managed to maintain the first place ranking in attracting the largest number of startup investment deals, and the second in the volume of investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, during the first half of this year, he added.

Digital Egypt innovation centers were established in six governorates, serving as a forum for exchanging experiences between young people, training them in various ICT areas, and carrying out training programs to foster innovation. Two more centers are to be opened next year, including the Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace center, and one near Cairo University, said Talaat, adding that more centers are to be established in Alexandria, Tanta, Zagazig and Ismailia.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Sweden to Egypt Jan Thesleff; the General Consul of France in Alexandria Janaina Herrera; the CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Amr Mahfouz; FEDCOC President Ibrahim Al-Arabi; the Chairman of the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and President of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Ahmed El Wakil; and the Chairman of FEDCOC Digital Economy and Technology General Division (DETGD) Khalil Hassan Khalil.

In his speech, Talaat presented the key pillars of MCIT strategy for building Digital Egypt, including digital transformation, fostering technological innovation, and capacity building, adding that the strategy stands on three pillars: inclusive digital economy, secure infrastructure, and legislative framework and governance. He underlined MCIT keenness to develop young people’s digital skills and capabilities in different technology areas, which are a key element that helps Egypt occupy a distinguished position in the global ICT industry map.

During the current fiscal year, MCIT targets training more than 115,000 trainees, at a total cost of EGP 400 million, compared to only 4,000 trainees in 2018, said the ICT Minister. He highlighted that MCIT capacity building strategy is pyramidal in model. A program is implemented for training more than 20,000 young people, in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, providing short training programs at youth centers to raise awareness of the importance of ICT.

More in-depth programs are then provided through a number of initiatives, based on a set of technical skills, freelancing and how to compete in this field. This includes Future Work is Digital (FWD) that targets training 100,000 young people in 18 months, an initiative implemented with Huawei for enabling remote digital learning, and other initiatives that aim to create a base of young people, capable of competing in the local and global labor markets, said the ICT Minister.

As it goes up, the pyramid advances in specialization, reaching high value initiatives, such as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science learning initiative, in cooperation with the École Pour l'Informatique et les Techniques Avancées (EPITA); and an initiative with Amazon for training 500 young people in nine months, on AI and data science basics.

Talaat said that Egypt University in Informatics (EUI) is being established at the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital, as the first specialized university in ICT in the Middle East and Africa. Study at EUI starts next year.

The University aims to offer Bachelor's And Master's degrees at faculties of AI and engineering; computer science, business technology, and digital arts, through joint certificates with top-notch universities.

The pyramid’s peak is represented in Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) that targets attracting 1,000 graduates of the faculties of engineering and computer and information. DEBI aims to equip the trainees with integrated technical and soft skills through providing a parallel training program to the academic one, enabling hands-on training at major local and international companies, and developing their English language skills.

The initiative students receive a technical Master’s degree from a major university, in one of the advanced technology disciplines, including cybersecurity; robotics and automation; data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI); and digital arts.

The first agreement was inked with a world-class university, namely The Ohio State University, which is one of the top 30 universities in the U.S., in engineering. The program will run during 2020/2021.

Moreover, the ICT Minister said that a pilot version of the Digital Egypt platform was launched, providing digital government services. The official platform with be launched soon, representing a huge opportunity for innovators to expand their business and participate in the digital transformation system.

Talaat also referred to Our Digital Opportunity initiative that MCIT launched, enabling the implementation of 10% of all digital transformation projects by the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) registered in the Information Technology Industry Development Authority (ITIDA) database, by virtue of a ministerial decree.

Digital transformation projects require the availability of a secure and efficient infrastructure, stated the ICT Minister. The first phase of the ICT infrastructure development project was implemented in 2019, with an investment of one billion and 600 million dollars. The implementation of the second phase of the project started in the second half of 2020, at a cost of more than 300 million dollars in the current fiscal year. The project contributed to accommodating the surge in Internet usage during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ending his speech, Talaat presented the ICT sector’s key indicators during the last fiscal year. The sector achieved a growth rate of over 15% and around EGP 108 billion of revenues, compared to 93 billion in the preceding fiscal year. The sector’s contribution to the GDP was about 4.4%, compared to about 4% in the previous fiscal year, and 3.2% during 2018/2019, with a target of reaching more than 8% within three years.

Furthermore, the ICT Minister opened Techne Summit exhibition that included projects of young innovators and startups. He praised the creative projects and ideas.

Techne Summit is an international event focusing on multiple industries, investment and entrepreneurship, in particular. It aims to influence various fields and startup communities in the Mediterranean region, through introducing different technologies and their application in each industry.

This year’s event sheds light on how to invest in startups and identify promising opportunities in economic sectors for investors, investment funds and Venture Capital. It is organized under the auspices of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), with the participation of nine countries from the Mediterranean investor group, and around 20 investment funds.

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