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Egypt, France sign 4 agreements in ICT field
Minister of Communications and Information Technology, AmrTalaat, and Secretary of State at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance Agnès Pannier-Runacher, signed 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 perthe declaration, experience and visits will be exchanged between the bodies involved in the field of IT incubators in both countries; in addition both countries willcooperate in building the capabilities of entrepreneurs.  This cameas part ofFrench President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Egypt to sign a number of cooperation agreements between the two countries within the framework of the "Economic Forum for Investment" organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in cooperation with the French Chamber of Commerce.  The minister stressed the importance of enhancing joint cooperation between Egypt and France in the field of communications and information technology through exchanging of experiences and increasing the volume of investments of French companies operating in the ICT sector in Egypt, which can contribute to the capacity building and rehabilitation of young cadres, providing them with theskills required for the labor market,and supporting areas of technological innovation and entrepreneurship.  Meanwhile, Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Orange Egypt Telecom signed a joint cooperation agreement in order to expand the company's operations in Upper Egypt by opening a contact center in the new technology area of Assiut, and training of 1,000 trainees of Egyptian cadres and appointinga minimum of 60 percent of the total number of trainees annually during the term of the Convention, which is up to 3 years.  The agreement also stipulates Orange's commitment to training 50 young developers annually under Orange's summer internship program. This training is accredited by the company and includes a number of state-of-the-art ICT applications and programs such as: Smart Cities, Cyber Security, and others.  The agreement also refers to Orange's launch of Fab Lab's manufacturing plant in new BeniSuef technology zone at a later stage as part of its future expansion plan in Upper Egypt.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ITIDA and Valeo Egypt was also signed. The MoU, which extends for three years, stresses the two parties' cooperation in building the capacities of young cadres by providing training and job opportunities for graduates of their training programs tomeet the company's needs,enablingit to expand its business in Egypt and promote the culture of innovation and knowledge in Egypt through the implementation of projects in the field of research, development and patent registration in order to benefit from artificial intelligence techniques in electronic car systems.  The fourth agreement was signed between ITIDA and TelePerformance to qualify skills in the ICT industry.  The agreement aims at expanding the company's operations in Egypt and increasing the number of employees in the company's center in Egypt to work in the field of exporting call centers, customer service and technical support services to Europe, America and the Middle East by providing 1,700 new jobs within two yearsand the provision of relevant training programs to raise the capacity and qualification of young people to join the industry.    Source:http://www.egypttoday.com/  
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EGYPT TO LAUNCH TRACKING APP FOR PUBLIC BUSES
One of the biggest obstacles to solve Cairo's dire traffic situation is its deteriorating, inhumane public transportation network. In the government's effort to tackle the issue, Egypt's Transport and Finance Ministers, Hisham Arafat and Mohamed Maeit, announced that Cairo's public buses will now be traceable on Google Maps through a new app launched by the government, allowing commuters to anticipate arrival times as well as the estimated time to get to destination, Egypt Independent reports. The application is officially the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa, and could potentially help increase demand and reliance on public transportation, pending further revamping of the public network's rusty and overcrowded vehicles, a process which already started last year. Hisham Arafat further explained that the ministry is currently working on a comprehensive plan to eventually integrate the public transportation network with that of the Cairo Metro, citing the role of digital technology as crucial to the development of a modern public transportation service in Cairo. The name of the app and its exact launch date have yet to be announced.    Source:http://cairoscene.com/
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A Deeper Look into the Booming ICT Sector
Egypt’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is one of few that has remained remarkably resistant in the face of the macro-economic instability over the past seven years. Mohamed el Nawawy, a technology consultant, notes that "ICT indicators are showing a noticeable increase in exports in the past years, which resulted in a high contribution to the Gross DOmestic Product (GDP). He further adds that while the government plans to increase this contribution by 2020-2022, “the main challenge facing the ICT sector remains to be the current economic situation.” To achieve its goal, the government has mapped out an ICT development strategy with a number of key pillars, which include: improving the quality and penetration of mobile, internet, and the government’s digital services; utilizing ICT infrastructure to improve the efficiency of state bodies; and facilitating the creation of a large and diverse export-focused industry. Investment Reforms In 2015 Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation started drafting new investment legislation before even launching the ongoing economic reform. In June 2017, the president approved the long-awaited Investment Law No. 72, which replaced former Law No. 8 for 1997, previously amended in March 2015. The new law reflects the efforts made by the Egyptian government and legislative authorities to avoid any misreading of local and foreign investors’ needs. Moreover, last April saw the approval of Law No. 23 for 2018 on the provision of incentives to science, technology and innovation. It applies to all higher education institutions and scientific research bodies. The law will not affect any other benefits, tax exemptions, or incentives granted to higher education institutions and scientific research bodies, according to the State Information Service. Article 1E of the legislation deals with science and technology valleys. It aims to promote innovation, technology development, transfer and marketing, in order to support the transforming into a knowledge-based economy and getting access to locally produced products.   Economic Performance Over the last couple of years, the Egyptian ICT sector showed steady growth and promising performance, with leaps in the industry. The sector reported a growth of 12.5 percent in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016/2017, which is the highest growth rate compared to other sectors, according to the Ministry of Planning, Follow-up, and Administrative Reform’s Annual Economic and Social Performance Report. The sector’s contribution to GDP reached 3.56 percent in FY 2016/2017, in comparison to a 3.3 percent growth rate in the previous year. Those interviewed believe that Egypt has a significant information technology and business-processes outsourcing (BPO) industry in place, serving international customers. For instance, multinational companies like IBM, Vodafone, Orange, and Microsoft are devel­oping services and products in Egypt for export to the global marketplace. As a result, Egypt’s outsourcing industry of ICT services increased to a value of $1.87 billion in the same period. Moreover, the sector received EGP 24 billion, an increase of 11.9 percent and representing around 5 percent of the total inbound investment in FY 2016/2017. “The economic performance of Egypt’s ICT sector is better than many other sectors in Egypt, even in the current economic climate [...] Its annual exports are around $2 billion and expected to reach $5 billion during the coming two years. The sector enjoyed an annual growth rate of 11 percent during the years 2015-2017,” says Mohamed Azzam, the executive director for the Digital Economy and Technology General Division Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce. Sector Characteristics In terms of talent supply, this sector has been able to continuously secure a growing number of graduates every year. According to the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation’s figures, an average of 10 percent of university graduates have obtained a degree in information technology. While the figures do not necessarily reflect skill level, Azzam stresses that “Egypt has the largest market in the region and the highest number of qualified personnel compared to the other nations in the region.” Furthermore, the country’s strategic location helps it in becoming a significant regional transit hub for submarine cables. Egypt is connected to 10 out of a total of 18 cables passing by the country, which provide Egypt with a capacity that exceeds 60 terabytes per second, according to Oxford Business Group’s report entitled “Egypt's ICT industry expected to drive economic growth.” Another element determining Egypt’s ICT sector characteristics is its existing infrastructure. Experts believe that it attracts extra investments, as it greatly eases start-up costs, and enhances day-to-day pro­ductivity. Competi­tive labor wages also strengthen Egypt’s ICT industry. It improves profitability year after year, through establishing cost-effective product developments and call centers, according to the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. Barriers and Solutions Experts have long argued that Egypt’s government should take further steps towards transforming the economy into a digital one that could lead growth. These steps should address current challenges facing foreign investors. For Azzam, the main challenges facing investors in the sector include bureaucracy; lack of unified vision across the government regarding the role of ICT sector in the newly digital transformation era and mega projects led by the government nowadays; shortage of qualified human resources; limited research and development centers; and a shortage of innovative firms and startups that could attract investors. However, Azzam lauds the government’s digital transformation initiatives, which address ICT infrastructure, electronics manufacturing, e-government programs, digital citizenship, smart cities like the new administrative capital, and modernization of the trade system. “Yet, without having an agile ecosystem, the realization of these opportunities could be difficult,” Azzam notes. As for his recommendations to attract extra investments to the sector in the future, Azzam says that an agile ecosystem should be in place. This system should include improving the overall macroeconomic environment, higher education and training system, ease of doing business practices, innovation climate, and technological readiness of the country. Furthermore, a flexible legal framework should be established. Egypt should establish a solid legal framework that understands the impact of technology on economic and social levels. “Egypt possesses a unique position, and there is a multitude of opportunities that could attract remarkable FDI; but without an agile ecosystem, investors might reconsider their investment decision in the country and redirect their funds to one of the growing economies in the region, such as Morocco and Kenya,” he adds. From his side, el Nawawy explains that the country still needs a well-developed educational system and IT infrastructure in order to create a more attractive ICT investment climate. “These two factors must be supported by a solid economic regime,” he says. He further notes that “the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has [already] adopted several initiatives for training ICT graduates on cutting edge technologies such as big data, data science, cloud computing, cyber security, etc. to qualify engineers to penetrate the ICT market.” On the technical level, he highlights that Egypt’s internet penetration rate has been growing rapidly in the past years. Promising Future Egypt’s 2020 strategy aims to support the country’s push to become a key regional player in the ICT industry.  The strategy’s framework is based on seven main pillars: digital contact, basic infrastructure, electronics design and manufacturing, ICT industry programs and initiatives, and legislative and policy frameworks, according to Oxford Business Group’s report. On a parallel path, Egypt’s 2030 vision includes plans to increase households’ fixed Broadband coverage to 90 percent by 2021. The plan targets a similar level of penetration in mobile coverage through 4G by utilizing a new satellite system that will accelerate the deployment of broadband, according to an official statement by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. Tackling the potential challenges that might face the strategy, Noura Hassan, Managing Director Trend Micro North Africa and Levant, explained to Zawya during an interview that ICT plays a fundamental role in Egypt’s initiative to transform its economy, aiming to position the country as a regional innovation hub by 2020. However, she adds that government bodies, local organizations and corporate entities should pay closer attention to growing security risks that inevitably come with a thriving sector. Egypt continues to face a growing threat from cyber attacks, with malware detections in the first quarter of 2018 reaching 253,995 incidents, accounting for 0.23 percent of 3.97 million global ransomware threats, and recording the second highest figure in the North African region, a 2018 report by Trend Micro Incorporated stated. “A modern and integrated security system should be incorporated when mapping Egypt’s transformation into a digital economy,” Hassan says. Managing the transformational process of Egypt’s knowledge-based economy in order to realize a fully ICT-literate society requires cooperation and partnerships between different stakeholders. Furthermore, in order to generate economic development and growth, ICT needs to also offer services, bolster content that creates new markets, reduce costs and increase productivity.  As el Nawawy puts it, “Supporting innovative young entrepreneurs through investing in startups and small companies working in ICT field will restructure [the industry] in a positive and healthy way.”  
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50 Egyptian ICT companies discuss cooperation opportunities with Korean counterparts
About 50 Egyptian companies work¬ing in the communications and infor¬mation technology sector partici¬pated in the ‘2018 K-Creative Con¬tent’ on Saturday, to discuss joint cooperation opportunities with their Korean counterparts, Hossam Osman, Minister of Communica¬tions and Information Technology’s adviser told Daily News Egypt. “We are here for many reasons, the first one is related to the fact that Egypt is very focused on disruptive technologies like block chain tech¬nology, machine learning technology, visual and augmented reality tech¬nologies,” added Osman, noting that his ministry aims towards further in¬teractions with the Korean side. The government is deliberating how to create business opportuni¬ties between Korean and Egyptian businesspersons, stressed Osman, mentioning that there are sever¬al high potential business models for fruitful joint cooperation with Ko¬rea such as localising mobile gaming applications.  “Egypt has an established history. We have a leading role in entertain¬ment and education, so we can col¬laborate with the Korean companies and benefit from their advanced technology to create mobile gam¬ing applications concerning the pyramids which can better expose the Egyptian culture,” noted Osman. Osman added that Egypt can be a good market for the translated Korean mobile gaming applications so the cooperation with Korea will be a win-win situation, noting that his ministry aims to transfer the Korean technology and collaborate in joint Research and Development (R&D) projects. “To innovate, we need to have joint interactions with the Korean side. We need to run R&D projects in the smart cities,” highlighted Osman. For his part, Yeocheol Yoon, South Korea’s ambassador to Egypt, said that sharing his country’s cre¬ative and digital content with Egypt will be a vital method to boost the bilateral cooperation. In addition, the ambassador re¬marked that about eight leading Korean companies participated in ‘2018 K- Creative Content’ as well as Korean experts, to introduce a different kind of Korean culture, which is the Korean digital content. “I hope that this activity will rep¬resent an exchange of experiences and visions for both sides, as well as build cooperative networks, which will result in fruitful friendship be¬tween both countries,” said the am¬bassador. Yang Sangkeun, director of the Korean Culture Centre said that the ‘2018 K-Creative Content’ is the first conference to highlight the Ko¬rean advanced technology in Egypt, hoping that it will turn in to a perma¬nent forum for sharing experiences between both countries which will boost bilateral relations. “After the world turned into an era of creative industrialization, South Korea seeks to globalize its culture based on the acceptance of the cultural Hallyu wave and focus all possibilities to promote investment in this soft power, adopted by Korea as a future growth engine for the 21st century,” stated Yang. The ‘2018 K-Creative Content’ was organized by the Korean Cul¬tural Centre, in collaboration with Korea’s Creative Content Agency, the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency and the Cham¬ber Of Information Technology & Communication (CIT), and was at¬tended by Hossam Osman, advisor to Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and Alaa Fahmy, chairperson of the Egyptian- Korean Friendship Association. On the sidelines of the confer¬ence, an exhibition of eight Korean companies was organized while specialized workshops were held.   Source:https://dailynewsegypt.com/
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12 ICT projects executed in 2018 at value of EGP 1.3 bln: Report
The Egyptian government executed in 2018 12 projects in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector at a total value of EGP 1.3 billion, according to a statement released by the cabinet’s media center Saturday. In addition, 999 startups were established during the first three quarters of 2018, with combined capital amounting to EGP 976 million, the statement added. Exports of information technology services have been estimated at more than $3.25 billion, according to an infographic posted by the center on its official Facebook page. The total gross national product of the ICT sector in Egypt increased by 14 percent, amounting to $80 billion, during the 2017-2018 fiscal year compared to $70 billion for the year before, the centre added. The volume of ICT investments witnessed a remarkable 38 percent increase to reach $21.8 billion compared to $15.8 billion during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the centre noted.   Source :  http://english.ahram.org.eg/    

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