Communication and Information Technology
Monday، 20 July 2009 12:00 AM
The State pays great attention to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector as being a real and effective crossing towards a better future. Therefore, in October 1999, it established the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), followed by a group of organs and bodies to implement the Ministry's plans. The MCIT includes the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), established in 2003, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), established in 2004, and the National Post Authority, established in 1865. It also includes the Information Technology Institute, founded in 1992, the National Telecommunications Institute (NTI), founded in 1984, the National Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT), founded in 2000, and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), founded in 2010.
The MCIT gets down to work with a national outline to upgrade the ICT that resulted in carrying out projects and initiatives, including the Egyptian Information Society Initiative (EISI), in order to support and enable the partnership between the public and private sectors, to enhance the communication’s infrastructure and expansion, and to provide communications and information technology for all citizens. The ministry is currently working to support the development of ICT service industry at the local level in collaboration with other actors concerned from government, civil society or the private sector.
In this context, the MCIT has developed, since 2007, a set of medium and short-term strategic plans for the development of the ICT Sector, including the medium-term ministry plan for the period from 2013 to 2017, and the ministry plan for the year 2014/2015.
Growth and investment rates in the ICT Sector:
Although the exceptional transitional circumstances that Egypt have experienced after the January 25 revolution, the ICT Sector has been able to achieve a balanced indicators in growth and investment rates, including:
- The investments of the ICT Sector are estimated at about LE 22 billion in 2014/2015, of which about LE 14.1 billion in the field of communications, and about LE 8 billion in the field of information technology. The contribution of the private sector is estimated at about LE 20 billion, at a rate of 90% of the total; of which LE 13 billion in the field of communications, and 7 billion pounds in the field of IT. The government sector investments have constituted about LE 758 million, while the economic body investments have reached about LE 1351 million, as well as public companies invested about LE 13 million.
- The number of companies working in the field of the ICT amounted to about 6166 until November 2014, compared to about 5586 companies in the same period in 2013, at an annual growth rate up to 10.38%.
- The contribution of the ICT Sector in the state treasury about LE 13.32 billion by the end of 2014, at an increase of 1%, compared to about LE 13.25 billion in 2013.
The Indicators of the ICT Sector in Egypt until November 2014:
• The number of subscribers to mobile phone networks reached 95.21 million.
• The number of subscribers in the landline phone network reached 6.24 million.
• The number of exchanges reached 1656, with a capacity of 15.88 million landlines; the Egyptian countryside occupied 1169 of which.
• The total number of Internet users reached 47.52 million.
• The number of Internet subscribers of high-speed ADSL reached 3.02 million.
• The number of Internet subscribers by mobile phone reached 21.07 million.
The IT Industry Development:
The state plays its role in guiding, encouraging and developing investment in ICT industry. It supports small and medium enterprises in applying the electronic transaction mechanisms. Additionally, it contributes to increased export opportunities for ICT services through the rehabilitation and training of manpower and employment specialists. Moreover, it develops the skills of the companies operating in this field. The salient achievements in 2014 are:
- Training 16,700 persons in the information technology industry development at the Software Engineering Competence Center (SECC) through the implementation of 360 training courses.
- Granting 15,300 students the fifth edition of the International Computer Driving License (ICDL).
- Graduating 3,500 students from the Education Development Program for Egyptian Universities (EDU Egypt).
- Training 1145 persons in various telecommunication fields through the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) Program.
- Developing the skills of 719 candidates from 256 companies, in collaboration with the Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Center (RITSEC).
- Supporting more than 322 companies operating in the IT field, through the development project of Egyptian products for small and micro-enterprises.
Maadi Technology Park:
Maadi Technology Park, Egypt’s first specialized investment zone, accommodates the expansion and development of the ICT services and the geographical-spread Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The infrastructure for several technological areas has been established in the following cities; Burj Al Arab, as-Sadat, New Beni Suef, New Assiut and New Aswan to expand dynamic communities specialized in this field. Maadi Park project consists of 38 buildings for outsourcing technological services; 8 buildings were actually delivered to global and Egyptian companies to serve the global markets in the Middle East, the Gulf States, Europe and the United States, as well as the domestic market. The total investment cost of the project is estimated at LE 1.2 billion; of which LE 80 million in the 2014/2015 fiscal year plan.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO):
The BPO means outsourcing of technology services through global contracting of the operations and responsibilities of a global business company to Egyptian third-party service provider companies specialized in the field of IT. The BPO can include maintenance of equipment and software, or preparation of data and information, or training programs to human cadres.
The BPO is considered one of the most promising industries in Egypt, due to possessing available industrial factors. Egypt is the linking point of 18 international submarine cables, linking the East to the West. Moreover, it incorporates a generation of youth with distinctive capacities, miscellaneous skills, and ability to speak in different languages, as well as it provides services with lower costs. All these benefits have put Egypt on the global map for outsourcing.
Egypt has succeeded in the field of outsourcing technology services, where exports have grown in this field from U$ 1.4 billion in 2011 up to U$ 2 billion in 2013, so that Egypt is ranked the fourth all over the world after India, China and Malaysia. A Plan has been drawn up to promote the ICT outsourcing services up to LE 23 billion until 2020.
The year 2013 has witnessed the implementation of the sixth phase of the Education Development Program for Egyptian Universities (EDU Egypt), in the field of IT outsourcing, in three universities; Port Said, Aswan and Fayoum. Additionally, the Program has been implemented in 13 other universities; Cairo, Ain Shams, Helwan, Alexandria, Tanta, Banha, Assiut, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sohag, Mansoura, Suez Canal, Menoufia and Zagazig, where the number of trainees reached 6,350 . In addition to the establishment of specialized Sourcing Academy in collaboration with foreign companies operating in the ICT Sector to work on raising the efficiency of the Egyptian cadres.
Information Technology Institute:
Since its establishment in 1993, the Institute plays an important role in activating the principle of linking the academic study to the specialized technology and the industry, so as to contribute to a knowledge-based society, and the development of new generation of specialists in various fields of technology. The Institute trained Egyptian university graduates through free annual grants for a diploma in IT in more than 26 specializations, including; computer networks, e-learning, geographic information systems (GIS), layout design of micro-circuits, management and storage of information, and other fields of technology. The Institute trained Egyptian university graduates in collaboration with a number of international universities in England, the United States, Sweden, and Ireland.
The Institute contributed in implementing more than 14 IT training programs in training centers nationwide, qualifying more than 2,500 to carry out thousands of training courses. The number of beneficiaries amounted to about one million trainees throughout the whole country.
The Institute graduated 34 batches in the professional rehabilitation program for more than 7000 until July 2013, with operational rate of 95%. 88 students are currently under training at the headquarters of the new Information Technology Institute at Suez Canal University during the 35th batch in 2014.
The year 2014 also witnessed the graduation of 714 specialists in the field of IT in the nine-month vocational training program in 27 different specialties including global trends in the ICT. Moreover, the Institute organized a job fair for program partners of the companies working in ICT industry to provide job opportunities for graduates of Information Technology Institute, thus ensuring high employment rate to reach 81%.
Furthermore, the Information Technology Institute launched the first section of the International Commission for the developers of electronic games in Egypt in 2013. Additionally, the Institute of Information Technology inaugurated the new branch of the Suez Canal University to serve the development plans of the Suez Canal Zone. The branch serves 1200 youth annually through various human capacity development programs. As well, the Suez Canal branch has a pivotal role in the planning and development of infrastructure and human resources of the national project to the axis of the Suez Canal, where it occupies a strategic location with an area of 1200 m2, with a view to serve six universities and three governorates in the region.
National Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT):
The Center was established in January 2002 at the Smart Village, as a project affiliated to the MCIT, and in February 2003, its affiliation was transferred to the Library of Alexandria in cooperation with the Ministry. The Center aims to raise public awareness of the Egyptian cultural and natural heritage. The Center has contributed to the documentation and dissemination of information related to heritage, by using the latest IT technologies, with the contribution of local and international institutions. The Center managed ten distinct programs to document the Egyptian heritage, including; the Project of Documentation of al-AZHAR al-Sharif Memory, where databases were set up, automated input system was developed, and Arabic, English and French interfaces were applied.
Since its foundation in 2001, the Smart Village is the largest administrative gathering in Egypt; it includes a series of local and global leading business centers in various telecommunications and IT, financial and banking sectors, and some scientific bodies such as the Nile University, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport. The Village also hosts the MCIT, and many institutions associated with this industry, in addition to mobile phone companies in Egypt. The number of Egyptian and international companies in the field of ICT reached about 165, and the number of workers and staff specialists reached 45 thousand. An area of about 80 thousand m2 is to be annexed by the end of 2014, through which about 8 thousand direct jobs and about 400 thousand indirect jobs are to be provided. By the end of 2016, the area to be annexed is due to reach one million m2, at investments estimated by LE 7 billion. This would bring the total investments of the Smart Village to reach up to LE 15 billion.
Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC):
The Technological Innovation Centre began its activity in the Smart Village in September 2010, aiming at spreading the culture of entrepreneurship among youth, through the development of mechanisms to detect and care for the creators, and the distinguished, as well as the consolidation of intellectual property rules. This is done in collaboration with some international companies, academic institutions and agencies concerned with the development of creativity, invention and research development in the field of ICT industry. Additionally, the Centre aims at providing financial and marketing support for entrepreneurs and innovators, including excellent centers that embrace technology incubators, the coefficient in the field of cloud computing and social networking, mobile technology and integrated systems, and the electronics industry. It is considered the first Egyptian Center that gets membership in the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN) in 2012. The Centre embraced 17 emerging companies in Cairo and Assiut during 2014. The most important programs of competitive nature, provided by the Center are; sponsoring camp of innovative ideas, technology incubators initiative, "innovation" competition and Fabrication Catalyst (FabCat) Service.
The Egyptian National Post Authority
The subordination of the Egyptian National Post Authority for the MCIT contributed to the modernization and providing more efficient and effective services. Through the Internet, the Post Authority was able to meet the citizens’ needs, and linked all postal offices throughout Egypt to the main centers, to provide all financial and postal services, additionally automated many post offices in Markazes (regions) and remote villages.
Among the most important performance indicators of the Egyptian National Post Authority are the following:
• Increasing the investments of the National Post Authority to LE 147 billion by the end of 2014, compared to 127 billion in 2013, at a growth rate of 15%.
• Achieving a profit of LE 216 million by the end of 2014, after incurring losses valued LE 857 million in 2012, and about LE 436 million in 2013.
• Establishing the African Regional Postal Training Center in 2013 to support the cooperation with African countries, and to strengthen Egypt's status and meet its obligations to Africa. The Center is going to contribute to the development of the level of performance of the postal workers in Africa by organizing specialized training programs.
• Increasing the number of public post offices to 3875 by the end of 2014.
• Increasing the average number of population covered by postal services to 22.08 thousand per office by the end of 2014.
• Increasing the average number of beneficiaries of the pension service through the postal offices in 2014 to about 5 million per month, compared to 4.81 million per month in 2013.
• Increasing the instant transfers up to one million, at a value of LE 1.4 billion.
Cooperation Initiatives with State Agencies:
The State seeks to improve the quality of services provided to citizens. The most important fields that the state has developed through collaboration between the MCIT and many of the state’s organs include:
IT Clubs for Community Development:
IT Club project began in 2000 to provide computers and Internet to all categories of society, in cooperation with the MCIT as a major shareholder, public and private sectors partnership, as well as individuals and local communities. The number of IT Clubs reached 2287 in 2014, distributed all over the governorates, in various institutions as youth centers, local units, NGOs and others, with priority given to the strategic governorates, such as North Sinai, the Red Sea, Aswan, New Valley and Marsa Matrouh.
The MCIT launched the initiative of “IT Houses” in September 2011, to serve the "corridor of technology" project, in order to provide integrated services including; training sessions, the service of e-government, and service of small and medium manufacturer. North Sinai governorate has witnessed the launch of the project of creating 9 technology houses until they reached 126 in 2014, distributed all over most of the Egyptian governorates.
E-government and Development Services:
The MCIT played its role in introducing e-government, changing the citizen’s look of public services, improving the performance of government bodies, and providing government services across online networks, to reach all dealers with the required speed and efficiency, through the "Egyptian Government Portal", with the signing of about 65 cooperation protocol with the various state institutions. The most important achievements in this field include:
• Building a database of more than 5.5 million real estate newspapers, the digitalization of 138 thousand cadastral map, in the framework of the implementation of the National Project for the Agricultural In-kind Record (Phase II), in collaboration with the Ministries of Justice and Water Resources.
• Building a database of Chambers of Commerce, to provide traders data, distributed on Chambers of Commerce throughout the Egyptian governorates.
• Creating the Egyptian Geographic Information Network (EGN) at a cost of about LE 12 million, with the participation of eight government agencies, so as to unify the criteria used in the creation and deployment of digital maps at the national level.
• Using the National ID database to expand political participation of Egyptian citizens at home and abroad, and to participate in the presidential election using the 2000 devices for electronic reading to facilitate the electoral process, and the live broadcast of the committees outside the main centers within Egypt.
• Carrying out Automation Project of Supreme Constitutional Court’s institutional resources, which includes the development of programs to facilitate the work of all Court departments, to develop a mechanism to link the Supreme Constitutional Court to the record of the People’s Assembly and the Court of Cassation through an electronic network, and to archive the Supreme Constitutional Court library to a number of five thousand books with an average 500-page scan, and 20-page data entry.
• Archiving 20 million documents of Public Prosecution Personal Statement applications.
• Inaugurating electronic payment center in collaboration with the Public Prosecution and the Interior Ministry to provide all facilities that will get benefit from the traffic services in an integrated manner, and developing electronic traffic gate in order to provide information on the cases of the streets and the rate of traffic in various main roads.
• Developing the working system in authentication offices and Illicit Gains Panel, with the completion of the mechanization of 100 offices, and implementing more than 11.2 million processes.
• Taking action to implement a number of mega-projects of public and private sector partnership (PPP). The following three-project studies were completed as follows:
- A network of smart metering in cooperation with the Ministry of Electricity, at a value ranging between LE 5 to LE 7 billion.
- Documentation offices in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, at an estimated value of LE 650 million.
- Commercial Registration in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, at an estimated value of LE 500 million.
In 2014, the MCIT sets cloud computing as a matter of utmost priority on the ICT international agenda. To this end, several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed with foreign bodies with a view to exchange experiences in developing Egyptian cadres to join the industry.
In this context, the MCIT developed the project of government cloud computing to provide infrastructure services, databases and the most wide-spread applications in government agencies. This represents a major breakthrough towards a digital economy, especially as the industry opens the door to huge investments in all sectors and technological applications, provides more job opportunities for youth, and supports small and medium industries.
Egyptian Education Initiative (EEI)… The Digital Content:
The EEI was launched under an agreement between the Egyptian government and the ICT Community pertaining to the World Economic Forum, as an advanced model aims to reform the educational system in Egypt gradually.
A collaboration between several public bodies, private companies, the MCIT, as well as a number of 17 Egyptian Universities, working in the digital content development of education, in order to digitalize the curriculum, provide digital interactive books, open-source programs, virtual coefficient, create a specialized educational channels on the Internet, as well as to develop the educational infrastructure through providing tablets for students, and providing wired and wireless high-speed internet for schools. Salient achievements are;
• Digitalizing all curricula, to be available on the site of the Ministry of Education, or through CDs displayed to students in schools.
• Developing school curricula by the "National Center for E-learning", where 6,000 educational units has been developed to be digital libraries.
• Developing skills of 1131 trainers, and providing the service for 11659 trainees through the project of "Egypt on the net" for technological literacy of youth. In addition to offering 30 training courses through supporting of Technological Community Centers (TeleCentre) Project.
• Developing 2460 Schools using five technological models to serve about 2.2 million students.
• Providing knowledge culture by connecting 40 thousand schools to the Internet.
Development of Al-Azhar Institutes:
A Protocol of Cooperation was signed between the MCIT and al-Azhar al-Sharif on June, 2, 2014 on the development of al-Azhar different stages; primary, preparatory and secondary, using ICT in order to encourage Arab e-content online. The Protocol includes several projects, salient of which are;
• Automating educational administrative process projects which include; construction project of personnel management systems in Azhari key sectors and institutes, geographical map project of al-Azhar Institutes nationwide, project of establishing library database, as well as monitoring and inspecting development project. Moreover, it includes a project of establishing an integrated interactive educational e-portal on the Internet, the Office of al-Azhar Institutes Helpline Desk, and a project to provide technological infrastructure follow-up systems in al-Azhar Institutes and to provide licenses for al-Azhar Institutes’ operating systems.
• Carrying up educational system projects which include; the project to develop educational content and digitalize curricula of al-Azhar Institutes, the project to compile encyclopedias of coherent and integrated Arabic and legitimate subjects, and the project to provide applications and services for special needs (blind people). Additionally, it includes the project to provide digital services to students and parents, and the project to provide systems of simulation, open-source software and virtual labs. Moreover, it incorporates the project to build a digital library on cloud computing for educational content through community participation and open contents, the project of establishing specialized educational channels on the Internet, and the e-learning project.
• Carrying up projects to develop infrastructure for educational institutions, including; tablet-based education project (integrated e-learning system), project of accessing high-speed Internet to some institutes, and project to improve the technological infrastructure within al-Azhar Institutes (computer and network coefficient).
• Carrying up projects to develop human capacities for male and female teachers of al-Azhar Institutes, including; project to educate and teach open-source software in educational institutions, project of the human resource rehabilitation and project to develop skills of change management and leadership.
Modernizing Industrial Schools:
Within the framework of the development of the comprehensive education initiative, there was a special interest in technical education and vocational training, through applying ICT systems, aimed at upgrading the level of the student and the teacher in the industrial schools. Ten schools of art have been selected as a model for modernization during the five-year project period.
The selected industrial schools operate as centers of vocational societal education, whereupon providing training courses relevant to ICT, and expanding vocational training to include surrounding communities. About 500 teachers have been trained, and about 100 lectures have been recorded to enrich digital content in the field of vocational training. The salient achievements of the ministry in this field are;
- Industrial Technical Education Portal;
- The technological infrastructure of the project;
- Virtual labs;
- Creation of a digital channel to present educational content with photographs;
- Creation of a studio for the production of visual content;
- Three-dimensional content based on learning through e-games;
- Geographical dramatic content; and
- Specialized professional trainings.
IT and the Development of Disabled Skills:
In the framework of the implementation of the state policy aimed to support and enable the participation of people with disabilities and help them get on community services with the most convenient ways, the MCIT accomplished many achievements, including:
• Earmarking two Technology houses in el-Arish and New Valley, qualified and technically prepared for the disabled.
• Holding the third International Conference on Information and Communication Technology for the Disabled in April 2014, and establishing an exhibition of assisting tools technology on the sidelines of the Conference.
• In the framework of the initiative of the 1000 school for the disabled, the ministry developed 35 integrated schools, 26 others for Special Education for the blind, in addition to providing 199 Schools with the first instructional common sign language dictionary for the deaf and hearing impaired. A number of 15 thousand students with auditory disabilities, benefitted from them.
Upgrading the Medical Service Level:
The state strives to raise the quality of services provided to citizens, and to save time and effort in all fields, especially in medical services. In implementation of the axes of the state's plan to shift to a digital society, the MCIT signed a cooperation protocol with the Ministry of Health, the most recently of which a five-year cooperation protocol at an estimated cost of up to LE 45 million in 2013, in order to develop business systems and provide the latest IT techniques to the General Authority for Hospitals and affiliated health institutes.
Salient achievements in the field of medical services are:
• Increasing the number of beneficiaries of the treatment during the second phase of the national network project for the treatment of citizens at the expense of the state. This project serves about a million patients a year, with 9 thousand treatment requests per day, in addition to five thousand daily treatment decisions.
• Completing the automation of 14 health insurance clinics, and completing the first and the second phases of the Information System Project for the medical insurance labs (Cairo Branch), at a total of 35 labs.
• Providing tele-medical diagnosis in remote governorates with video conferencing system service. Tele-medical units for treatment have been established at governorates of Fayoum, South Sinai, North Sinai and Marsa Matrouh.
IT and Environmental Protection:
The MCIT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, has developed a culture of environment-friendly IT, has raised society awareness, and reduced the harmful effects of the expansion in using ICT devices through environmentally friendly methods for safe disposal of e-wastes, and reducing the emission arising from other sectors through;
• Recycling e-wastes by renewing and re-using old hardware.
• Raising society awareness of youth by organizing a number of seminars and workshops on environmental issues in various governorates.
• Developing environmental monitoring irregularities’ units to provide and deploy the automated system to monitor cleanliness in 29 districts in Cairo Governorate.
IT and Arab cooperation:
- Egypt has chaired the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th sessions of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Communications and Information in Cairo, Doha and Algeria, as well as the 18th session of the Council of Arab Ministers which was held in Egypt in November 2014.
- Egypt officially joined the Arab Information and Communication Technology Organization (AICTO) to promote the digital content.
IT and Africa:
Proceeding from the interests of Egypt's strategy in Africa, and activating the role of Egypt's regional at the continental level, the MCIT activates the Egyptian cooperation with the African countries and relevant regional organizations, through the establishment of projects aimed at advancing development and benefiting from the Egyptian experience, where Egypt is a member of the African Union (AU), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), among these projects are;
- Cooperation with Uganda to create the National Center for Internet and Computer Emergency Response in the Ugandan capital.
- Expert participation in the first ministerial meeting of COMESA Commission of Science and Technology held in Zambia.
- Admission of TIEC and the Institute of Information Technology as regional excellence centers for COMESA region.
- Helping Tanzania to set up the first smart village in the capital, Dar as-Salam, in collaboration with the Egyptian Smart Village.
- Egypt won the post of Vice Chairman of the Administrative Council of the African Postal Union.
- Egypt won, under the sponsorship of the Specialized Committee, the coordination of training programs at the level of the African continent.
- Inauguration of the training and regional research centers of the Egyptian Post at Smart Village.
IT and International Organizations:
The MICT cooperates with international organizations in the fields related to the ICT to contribute to the development of the sector and the promotion of the state’s national economy. The following are the most important strengthening cooperation indicators;
• The MCIT provided 22 projects, in addition to announcement of other three Egyptian projects through the partnership program organized by the International Telecommunication Union.
• Egypt won the presidency for the meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society "WSIS", which was held in Geneva in June 2014.
• Egypt got the top prize for the best special youth employment projects, among 17 winners of the world countries for the project of "youth employment program in Egypt."
• Participating in the Conference of GSMA Mobile World Congress.
• Egypt won the International Telecommunication Union Award (ITU), for the contribution of the MCIT in providing criteria and indicators for the information society.