21 April 2021 02:00 PM

Communications and Information Technology (CIT) Six Years of Achievements

Thursday، 09 July 2020 - 12:31 PM

Over the past six years, Egypt has had a clear strategic vision for the localization of technology all over the Republic, as President Abd-El Fattah El-Sisi's support for the communication and information technology sector continues as he realizes the importance of this sector in building the modern state and achieving sustainable economic and social development.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has adopted ambitious plans that contain many objectives and themes, most notably the implementation of "Egypt Vision 2030" and digitalization.

Following are the achievements of the communication and information technology sector:

Egypt's position in international forums

- Egypt hosted World Radio Conference (WRC-19) and Radio Association (RA-19) in Sharm el-Sheikh, which was held for the first time, over the past 20 years, outside the Union's headquarters.

- Egypt was elected head of the African Union's Specialised Technical Committee on Information Communications and Technology    (STC-CCICT) for a two-year term.

Egypt has won the membership of the Administrative Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) from 2019 to 2022.

- Egypt hosted the events of the 10th session of the Africa Postal Forum.

-  Egypt organized Accessible Africa Week as a full training grant on technological access and assistive technology.

- Egypt was elected as the executive president of the Arab telecom ministers’ council by consensus for two years.

Digitalization Projects

-The digitalization project in Port Said governorate as a first stage, and the automation of government and service sectors and linking them to the unified databases of the State, in cooperation with the service- provision sectors;

- The comprehensive health insurance automation project in Port Said governorate as a first stage. The project includes the development of the work systems of the three authorities (Comprehensive Health Insurance Authority, Health Accreditation and Control Authority, Healthcare Authority, as well as the affiliated healthcare units and hospitals);

- The smart farmer card and the activation of the agricultural tenure system in Port Said and Gharbia governorates, as the centers and associations of the two governorates were fully prepared;

- The development of the Egyptian antiquities platform, and the completion of the first phase of the project to develop the immigration and nationality services platform at the Passport Authority, as well as launching the second phase of the National Social Insurance Authority website;

-  linking 60 databases in different state sectors within the integrated databases project;

- Cooperation with all sectors of the country in order to digitize more than 20 government services through different channels, as they will be made available through mobile applications, digital platforms and government service centers;

- Cooperation with the Ministry of Culture to work on the establishment of a digital platform for the Egyptian cultural content, which includes all activities of the Ministry of culture, which comprises audio-visual activities, books, documents and blogs;

-  Modernizing communication infrastructure by using fiber cables and increasing the number of smart assembly units to improve the quality of communication services across the country;

- Providing high-speed internet services using fiber optics in record time for 2,563 secondary schools in all governorates by modernizing communication networks and connecting them to fiber optic cables with a length of 4,500 km from centrals to schools;

- Constructing the first phase of the City of Knowledge in the new administrative capital, which includes a specialized center in applied research in the fields of modern technology which cooperates with international companies in specialized research projects that produce practical solutions to meet the challenges and provide high skills in various disciplines, as well as a building for technical training and another for the National Academy of Assistive Tech for people with disabilities;

- Establishing the first specialized university in the fields of communications and information technology in Africa and the Middle East in the City of Knowledge in the new administrative capital; and

- Launching the Internet of Things (IoT) Academy, this includes the IoT Lab.

-Establishing of 6 technological innovation complexes that include branches of the ministry's training institutes in regional universities: Mansoura, Menofia, Minya, Sohag, Aswan and Qena. The complex comprises technological labs specialized in embedded systems and programs, electronics design, and rooms for specialized training in various fields.

- Launching the specialized training program in the field of establishment, operation and maintenance of fiber optic networks, in cooperation with Corning Inc. The program includes the establishment of a training academy and specialized laboratories in the field of fiber optic networks. It aims to train 1,500 trainees on the basics of the establishment, installation and operation of communication networks using fiber optic cables. The program provides internationally accredited certificates from the Fiber  Optic Association (FOA).

Development of post offices

- The development of the Egyptian Post to reformulate its role to become a major outlet for integrated government services with working in parallel  on expanding its branches and providing them with devices that provide services with modern technologies, bringing the total number of upgraded offices  to 2000 post offices that have become integrated postal service centers.

- The establishment of the Logistics Center at Cairo International Airport in accordance with the latest international standards to enhance the capabilities of The Egyptian Post to provide logistic and international e-commerce services. The centre also contributes to facilitating providing e-commerce services for the African countries.

- Cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology with the aim of enabling citizens to get automated legal authentication services through postal service centers.

- Cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and Egypt Post to allow it to deliver the issues extracted by the Ministry of Interior to citizens, such as "work permit- traffic license - criminal record - civil affairs documents" through the government portal.

- Cooperation between Egypt Post and the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Development Authority to provide a package of financial and non-financial services provided to the citizens through the offices of Egypt Post.

- Cooperation between the Egyptian National Railways and Egypt Post to provide electronic train reservation services, and parcels and goods transportation through Egypt Post kiosks.

- Cooperation with the ministry of Social Solidarity to enable citizens to collect debts and donations to Nasser Social Bank accounts through the post offices all over the Republic.

-The development of a number of applications and systems, including Bio metric ATMs to conduct financial operations (withdrawal- deposit - transfer) and other financial transactions by hand print.

- The operation of Interactive teller machines (ITM)  to get banking services faster, instead of going to a bank employee, by providing video and audio customer service communication, cash withdrawal transactions, deposits and bank card re-issuance in case of loss.

Training initiatives and programmes       

 Electronics designing and manufacturing Initiative

The initiative aims at making the electronics industry one of the main pillars of the economic growth in Egypt. The initiative contributes to doubling the volume of Egyptian electronics exports, reducing imports of electronic and electrical appliances to the domestic market, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The initiative is based on two main axes, the first is the excellent design and production of electronic circuits and high value-added systems, and the second is the establishment of a labor-intensive electronics industry.

Technological Learning Initiative (Future Technology Pioneers)

The initiative aims to train and qualify young Egyptian cadres for the state-of-the art techniques in the fields of technology in the communication, information technology and electronics sector. The initiative provides a high quality applied educational system based on the partnership of prestigious universities and leading companies worldwide. It is based on premium e-learning platforms (edX, Udacity and Coursera) through assisting and stimulating study groups and evaluation and follow-up review networks.

'Our opportunity…is digital' initiative

The initiative aims to achieve a partnership between the government and private sectors to develop small and medium enterprises to contribute to enhancing their contribution to creating more jobs for young people in a way that enhances their competitiveness in the local and international markets.

Egypt FWD Initiative

"Future Work is Digital" (FWD) initiative aims to develop the skills of 100,000 Egyptians through Udacity's online platform in three technological specializations; web, data and digital marketing. It also aims to enhance the capabilities of active local professionals in remote work, maximize Egypt's exports of IT services, enhance the technological potentials of Egyptian youth, increase their opportunities for remote employment and enable them to compete in online independent labor markets.

'Work from home' initiative

The initiative aims to train young people for the free-lance and remote work skills, and provide excellent income opportunities through partnership with a number of free-lance work platforms. The initiative is based on three themes; the first is distance-training by providing courses and training on the most required technological skills in the labour market. The second is the supervision and guidance. It includes contacting experts in that field to bring experiences and advice to the newcomers. The third is to provide different privileges and job opportunities through cooperation with free-lance work platforms.

Qodwa.tech Initiative

The initiative aims to contribute to the social and economic empowerment of girls and women in Egypt's governorates, particularly in remote and marginalized areas, through using communication and information technology. It also pays attention to the representation of women from the informal economic sector working in craft and agricultural industries, as well as motivating them to entrepreneurship and strengthening their capabilities in the field of communication, information technology and digital financial technology.

 B Secure Initiative

The initiative aims to train students in information security and infrastructure disciplines in agreement with 7 universities. In addition to that, training has been initiated for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of fiber optic networks. It is targeted to train 3,000 specialists by the end of 2021.

Africa Games and Digital Applications Initiative.

The initiative aims to develop the capabilities and rehabilitee 10,000 young Egyptians and Africans to develop digital games and application s using the latest technologies. It also aims to encourage the establishment of 100 Egyptian and African start-up companies in this field. A number of 10,669 training courses were provided in 24 recent technological branches. Besides, 2,135 trainees graduated from the initiative that benefited about 28 Egyptian and African startups. Moreover, launching the African Cup of Applications and Electronic Games.

Wazeefa Tech Initiative “Learn First… Pay Later”

The initiative aims to provide excellent training to qualify young people to obtain jobs provided by specialized technology companies after passing their tests. The training program is implemented within 3 months. The administrative expenses and insurance are provided by the Ministry of Communications, and Long Live Egypt Fund. However, young people will pay from their salaries, after getting jobs, through installments for 3 years.

Finding lost children initiative

It relies on the creation of a system that uses face recognition and deep learning, as well as matching photos of children in children shelters and photos uploaded to the system by parents of lost children searching for them.

Communication infrastructure development

-The opening of the NTRA's National Center for ICT Services Quality Control & Monitoring with the aim of periodically measuring the quality of voice and internet services.

- Connecting 800 government buildings in Port Said governorate to the fiber optic network through Telecom Egypt.

- Starting the implementation of a project that aims at connecting all the 32,000 government buildings throughout the republic with the fiber optic network.

- Increasing the average internet speed in Egypt to 20 MB/second.

- Reaching an agreement with the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities to connect fiber optic cables to new houses and buildings nationwide, update the Egyptian building code to include the code of communication networks, which includes standard specifications for the infrastructure of telecommunication services.

Indicators

Economic performance indicators

- EGP 93 billion DP were dedicated to the communication and IT sector during 2018/19, with a growth rate of about 16.6%.

- EGP 35.7 billion were dedicated as implemented investments in communication and IT sector in 2018/19.

-  The sector's contribution to the State's GDP in 2018/19 reached 4%.

- Exports of IT services reached US 3.6 billion.

 - 1199 companies were established in the field of communications and IT from January to September 2019.

- New corporate capital, from January to September 2019, reached EGP 1.575 million.

Communication infrastructure indicators

The number of mobile phone subscribers reached 95.70 million in January 2020.

The number of Internet users reached 40.9 million in 2018/19.

The number of ADSL subscribers reached about 7.12 million by the end of September 2019.

Mobile Broadband subscribers reached 41.7 million in September 2019.

Information infrastructure projects

- Automating services at the General Investment Authority by providing numerous electronic payment channels, and implementing electronic signature services internally and among external actors.

- Completing the first stage of automating the electronic incorporation service, where 4000 companies have been introduced to the new automated system and associations’ services have been provided to investors as well as electronic signature services.

- Developing housing and real estate financing services in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing and Utilities, the Urban Communities Authority and the Real Estate Fund. This is represented in automating the real estate support system to citizens, launching the development of the second phase of the automated system for developing the Fund's public services and the development of the Fund's electronic portal.

- Launching ‘Beit al-Watan’ project, which aims to encourage Egyptians abroad to invest in their homeland in the housing field, where Egyptian expatriates can reserve and select pieces of land suitable for them in an easy way that guarantees the equality to benefit from the government housing services.

- Establishing cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) centers, through which cooperation with major international companies is carried out to implement bilateral projects in the fields of health care and agriculture.

Technological innovation communities

- Completing the equipping of the UN Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) in Africa with the latest scientific and technological means, which aim to foster innovative tech-solutions, enhance scientific research and upgrade the technological capabilities of researchers in technological fields all over Africa.

- Graduating 16 companies from technology incubators, and hosting 22 startups at Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) affiliated to the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA)

- Launching the 1st French-Egyptian Competition for Startups in Egypt that aims to motivate young people to innovate smart solutions in the fields of health, fin tech and sustainable cities.

- Launching a partnership program with the private sector to boost investment and support startups in the fields of electronics design, the fourth generation (4G) and the Internet of things (IOT).

- Completing the establishment and the trial operation of 3 Electronics Innovation Complexes (EIC), prototyping (IoT, PCB, FabLab) in:  Smart Village in Cairo, Borg Al Arab Technology Park in Alexandria and New Assiut Technology Park in Assiut.

- Launching the first session of the financing program for five projects to develop and design electronic products and components locally for the purpose of quantitative manufacturing in cooperation with the ITIDA-ITAC program.

Communications and information technology to integrate society

- launching the initiative of "Technological availability of e-government portals" aiming to enable people with disabilities to access the services provided through the "high-availability websites" of the government entities with complete independence, where they could access to the necessary information in a convenient manner.

- Establishing the Technical Centre to serve people with disabilities providing the use of appropriate assistive technologies as a means of communication via telephone among people with hearing and communication difficulties and their peers without disabilities.

- Establishing the National Academy of Information Technology for People with Disabilities according to the latest quality and training standards, so that such an Academy would afterwards be a regional centre for training and rehabilitation of people with special needs in the Arab World and Africa.

- Completing the first phase of Egypt information portal to provide information to people with hearing and communication difficulties, in addition to the technological availability of the website of the National Council for Disability Affairs.

- Developing 100 integrated community centres for technology integration to provide training services for youth in various governorates.

The Fourth Generation (4G) mobile phones

Launching the fourth generation (4G) of mobile services, putting Egypt in a higher rank along with countries that provide the fourth-generation (4G) services, which are characterized by providing high speed Internet as well as image and video transmission services without the need of temporary storage of data, in addition to advanced services for cloud computing, and thus raising Egypt's indicators in international reports.

National strategy for artificial intelligence

Egypt has taken steady steps towards digital transformation and smart transportation systems. It, also, has achieved a lot in terms of the peaceful uses of outer space, establishing the Egyptian Space Agency to quickly achieve the goals of sustainable development.

- Setting the strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to be carried out within 3 to 5 years. This strategy includes two main pivots: capacity building to create a base of specialists in all areas of AI and data science.

- Launching Egypt's first communications satellite to make a qualitative leap in the telecommunications and information technology sector, which can benefit Egyptians, Arabs and Africans.

International certificates

- Wasel contact center for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), established by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has won the CIO 100 Award, in January 2020.

- The government app "At Your Service" won the third place in the International Stevie Awards, in January 2020.

- Egypt Wins Excellence Award for Best Postal Development in Africa, in January 2020.

- Egypt won the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Global ICT Excellence Award 2019 in Digital inclusion.

- Egypt ranked for the third year in a row among the top 9 global sites providing information technology services to European markets, according to the world's leading global research and advisory company “Gartner” report for 2019.

- Egypt ranked 1st among African countries and in the Middle East region, while ranked 14th in the world, according to A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index 2019.

- Fitch Foundation praises Egypt as one of the cheapest outsourcing call center destinations providing technical support in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

- The Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) confirmed that Egypt is a leading destination for providing shared and outsourcing services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (2019).

- Egypt ranked first in terms of the number of startups investment deals among the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region countries, accounting 25% of all deals, according to the 2019 Egypt Venture Investment Report by MAGNiTT.

- Egypt ranked second in terms of attracting investment to emerging companies in the technological domain according to MAGNiTT’s report.

The most important national and international agreements

- Signing an agreement to provide the New Administrative Capital with communication, security and smart services networks

- Signing a Cooperation Agreement by the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the Central Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, and the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit to boost cooperation in Fin Tech field between the four parties.

- Signing two agreements between Telecom Egypt (TE) and Etisalat Misr in texting services, infrastructure and fixed-mobile interconnection.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Japan’s Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO) to enhance cooperation in the digital inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and develop a comprehensive society.

- Signing a cooperation protocol with Temenos Group for applying the best integrated technological solutions on financial, postal and government services.

- Signing a memorandum of understanding between the National Institute of Communications and the global company VMware to establish the first regional academy in the Middle East and Africa to train on and secure virtual network skills in Egypt.

- Signing a memorandum of understanding between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the global NEC Company working in the field of information technology and electronics.

- Signing two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on Cooperation in Digital Transformation and Post.

- Signing a cooperation agreement between Telecom Egypt (TE) and Ericsson, to establish a joint training center and an innovation lab to implant technology and create an enabling work environment for youth in technological innovation.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MCIT and eye vision with the aim to enhance cooperation in AI applications for detecting eye diseases.

- Signing a declaration on the promotion of entrepreneurship and growth of emerging companies in the field of information Technology. The declaration was signed between the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. As per the declaration, experience and visits will be exchanged between the bodies involved in the field of IT incubators in both countries.

- Signing a joint cooperation agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Orange Egypt, including its future expansion plan in Upper Egypt.

- Signing a memorandum of understanding between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Valeo Egypt General, to cooperate in building capabilities of Egyptian youth providing training on the latest ICT and electronics areas.

- Signing a cooperation agreement between ITIDA and Teleperformance to enhance young people skills in the ICT industry.

- Signing an agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Andela, the global technology company, to boost the company’s operations in Egypt through hiring at least 200 Egyptian programmers to work in exporting the software development services that Andela provides to its customers worldwide.

-  Telecom Egypt signed a landing party agreement with Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable International Network Co. and PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong's premier telecom service provider.

- Telecom Egypt signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable International Network Co. and its affiliate Hengtong Optic-Electric. According to the letter of intent, Hengtong Optic-Electric will provide Telecom Egypt with fiber optic cables at competitive prices.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Telecom Egypt (TE) and Huawei Technologies to cooperate in the field of the advanced generations of mobile networks, aiming to modernize the Telecom Egypt network and develop its services for clients.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Telecom Egypt (TE) and ZTE, a Chinese company, on establishing an innovation lab and a technology training center.

- Signing a memorandum of understanding between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Ingram Micro alliance to train and qualify Egyptian cadres on applications of artificial intelligence.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Telecom Egypt (TE) and Nokia to establish the first cloud infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT) services in Egypt, exclusively.

- Egypt National Post Organization (ENPO) signed two cooperation protocols with its Cameroonian and Togolese counterparts in collecting and redirecting e-commerce packages to facilitate online shopping from US, UK, and China, for Cameroonian and Togolese citizens through ENPO logistics center in Cairo Airport.

- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between ITIDA and Dell Technologies to support startups and raise awareness of modern technology.

- Signing a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the British Council to build capacities of the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID) staff in developing innovative economy and community-return projects, in light of the growing interest in knowledge-based industries, including innovative industries, especially those aimed at addressing societal challenges.

- Signing a joint cooperation protocol between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the International Telecommunication Union to launch the Regional Center for Communications and Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities in Egypt.

The ICT Sector Efforts to Confront the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has taken the following measures, in collaboration with its affiliates, to support the State’s plan for curbing the spread of novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19):

1) Cooperation with Ministry of Health:

- Increasing the number of hotlines and providing the Ministry of Health and Population with free hotlines to attend to citizens’ inquiries on COVID-19.

- Increasing hotlines for relief operations and post recovery consultations

- Introducing and managing telemedicine to connect health units in remote areas with central hospitals.

2) Supporting distance learning:

- Delivering a wide array of state-of-the art e-Learning courses.

- Providing content online and enabling free browsing of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank and educational platforms and websites.

- Increasing home internet packages by 20% to cover the students’ needs in browsing different educational platforms and websites.

3) Initiatives for Encouraging Citizens to Stay at Home for Longer Periods:

- Promoting the use of e-transactions in agreement with mobile companies by offering several incentives for customers setting off their bills and topping up their balances via e-payment methods.

4) Community Service Efforts:

- providing staple food to 250,000 families who are adversely affected by the preventive measures of COVID-19.

5) Measures for Facilitating Service Delivery for Citizens:

- Increasing the number of post offices operating for evening shifts, from 350 to 2000 offices nationwide.

-  Extending the payment period of landline phone bills without interruption of service.

- Encouraging electronic and online payment of utilities via e-payment methods.

6) Measures for Helping Economically Affected Citizens

- Disbursing the irregular employment aid, decided by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to those suffering the repercussions of COVID-19, through post offices, without congestion.

- Dedicating around 600 schools and youth centers to serve as additional disbursement outlets, to ease access of beneficiaries to the aid without congestion.

- Granting an EasyPay card to each beneficiary, to use it to receive the aid, for two months.

7) Measures for Helping Persons with Disabilities

- Launching “Wasel” mobile application for answering the inquiries of the deaf and persons with hearing difficulties on COVID-19.

- Launching an automated testing service of COVID-19 symptoms with a chatbot that uses the sign language capitalizing on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The service is enabled to the deaf and persons with hearing difficulties through “Wasel” mobile application and “Tamkeen” website.

Sources:

- The Website of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and its affiliated entities.

- The Middle East News Agency (MENA)

- Al Ahram News Gate


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