27 April 2021
ICT Minister Delivers Talk at NSRP Launch Event


The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a talk during the National Structural Reform Programme (NSRP) launch event, in the presence of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a number of ministers.

Talaat underlined that the ICT sector is expected to achieve a 16% growth rate during the current fiscal year, and a local product of around EGP 125 billion. He discussed the development achieved at the sector through highlighting its economic indicators, from the fiscal year 2017/18 to the last one, where the sector's contribution to the GDP increased from 3.2% to 4.4%, and is expected to reach 5% during the current fiscal year, and 8% in three years.

The ICT Minister also said that the sector’s gross product went from EGP 80.1 billion to EGP 107.7 billion; the digital exports, from $3.2 billion to $4.1 billion; and the number of employees in the sector, from 233,000 to 281,000.

Egypt's ranking in the financial inclusion index has improved, with the country becoming one of the ten fastest growing countries in digital inclusion, out of 82 countries, according to international reports. They also show that Egypt moved up in the Network Readiness Index (NRI) to rank 84th, compared to 92nd last year, he added.

Talaat highlighted that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) strategy within NSRP includes three pillars: digital transformation, capacity building, and attracting local and international investments. The strategy also stands on two main planks: a robust infrastructure and a legislative and governance framework.

The technological infrastructure necessary to automate the state sectors has been established with investments of more than EGP 3 billion, with the aim of rendering digital government services to citizens through four channels, Digital Egypt platform, post offices, government service centers, and the call center 15999.

The ICT Minister said that 60 digital government services have been rolled out as part of a plan to reach 170 services by the end of this year, and 250 within the next year. The number of registered citizens on Digital Egypt platform has reached about 2 million, with 2.4 million transactions carried out through the platform. Indicators for monitoring service performance and digital verification have also been developed, he added.

Talaat touched upon the major digital transformation projects implemented in cooperation with the state sectors to provide excellent services to citizens, most notably the projects of developing the agricultural tenure system and issuing the farmer’s smart card, the automation the universal health insurance system and university hospitals, and the digital transformation of the higher education system, which includes introducing the digital exam system.

Moreover, the ICT Minister referred to the government performance development projects, most notably moving to the New Administrative Capital as a participatory paperless smart government; the real estate national ID project; and the real estate license system project for achieving good governance of real estate through creating an accurate geographical database, integrated with the national information infrastructure project.

Talaat added that the capacity building strategy involves training 110,000 people this year. The strategy is implemented in cooperation with major technology companies and international universities, based on a pyramidal approach, with the base of the pyramid represented in carrying out beginner-level training programs on digital literacy for a large number of trainees in the youth centers developed to become inclusive community centers. MCIT targets training 20,000 people in 105 developed centers, then moving to provide intermediate technological training through collaborating with the Ministry of Education and Telecom Egypt to create applied technology schools to qualify young people for competing in the labor market.

The strategy then involves providing advanced technological training programs, including the Artificial Intelligence Professional Program (AI Pro), organized in cooperation with the École Pour l'Informatique et les Techniques Avancées (EPITA). The program targets training 1,000 specialists and trainers in AI, with the trainers teaching thousands of trainees to obtain a diploma in AI.

The pyramid moves in specializations and training up until reaching a specialized university education in modern technologies, namely Egypt University of Informatics (EUI). This is the first specialized informatics university in Africa and the Middle East, partnering with major international universities. EUI has been established in the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital, with EGP 8 billion investments, and a capacity of 10,000 students.

The ICT Minister highlighted that the top of the pyramid is granting a professional Master’s degree through Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) for 1,000 students, every year, in data science and AI; robotics and automation; cybersecurity; and digital arts, in collaboration with top-notch universities. The initiative includes a comprehensive program for trainees to gain professional experience, implemented in cooperation with major ICT companies, as well as programs for honing soft skills, implemented in collaboration with international companies specializing in developing language and leadership skills.

Talaat underscored that work is underway to attract local and foreign investments, based on four main elements. The first is fostering startups through establishing Creativa Innovation Hubs nationwide, which include accelerators and business incubators, and carry out entrepreneurship training programs and innovation competitions. The second is helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow through incentives for boosting digital exports, and implementing Our Digital Opportunity initiative to boost businesses locally.

The third pillar is attracting foreign investment. This includes providing incentives for the data center industry, as well as for manufacturing electronics, as MCIT has partnered up with Samsung to manufacture educational tablets, with $30 million investments. The fourth pillar is to boost digital exports. A number of programs and initiatives have been carried out, including Future Work is Digital (FWD) initiative for training and qualifying 100,000 young people for freelance jobs on international freelancing platforms.

Furthermore, the ICT Minister pointed out the efforts exerted to support the ICT sector’s legislative framework, including passing the Personal Data Protection Law and the executive regulations implementing the Anti-Cybercrime Law, last year. MCIT is also collaborating with the House of Representatives to pass a law on electronic transactions and the executive regulations implementing the Personal Data Protection Law.

Talaat also presented the efforts for raising the efficiency of the information infrastructure through developing Egypt Post, boosting the telecommunication infrastructure, and improving the quality of Internet and mobile phone services.

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