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Digital Egypt

In its desire to achieve real sustainable development and progress, the Arab Republic of Egypt has made it among its priorities to strengthen its information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

In the UN E-Government Survey 2020, Egypt joined the high EGDI group. The E-Government Development Index (EGDI) measures the readiness and capacity of national institutions to use ICTs to deliver public services.

It has also been included in Group A of the World Bank’s 2022 GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI). Egypt was in Group B in 2020. The GTMI measures nations’ maturity in digital government transformation based on core government systems, online public service delivery, digital citizen engagement, and GovTech enablers.

When Egypt established its Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in 1999, its goal is to develop its national ICT sector, to achieve digital economy through the use of ICT tools to provide prosperity, freedom and social equity for its citizens.

When I met with Ambassador Ahmed Shehabeldin, Egypt’s ambassador to the Philippines, to discuss possible areas of digital cooperation between the Philippines and the Arab nation, he explained Egypt’s digital transformation plan.

They have an ICT 2030 strategy, an integral component to realizing Egypt Vision 2030, which is the country’s long-term strategic plan to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable development in all fields.

The MCIT created “Digital Egypt” as a roadmap towards the country’s transformation into a digital society. This strategy is built on three main pillars — digital transformation, digital skills and jobs, and digital innovation — that are supported by digital infrastructure and legislative framework.

In pursuing digital transformation, Egypt is focused on providing services to its citizens digitally and improving government performance. They have the Digital Egypt e-platform that gives citizens access to fully-digitized services such as traffic, supply, notary, real estate, court, commercial register and real estate tax, social housing, civil status, and licensing services, among others.

They have created a government intranet that has been able to connect more than 33,000 government buildings nationwide. They also have the government-to-government (G2G) system, which facilities electronic sharing of data and/or information systems between government agencies, departments or organizations. This allows state agencies to communicate and coordinate operations to deliver services to citizens using a single system.

For its capacity-building strategy, they want to ensure that it will be inclusive to all society segments, including school and university students, graduates, professionals, women, and Persons with Disabilities, in addition to Arab and African young people.

The strategy follows a hierarchical approach that starts with digital literacy, followed by intermediate technology training programs. The next step is the advanced technological training programs to prepare a generation of skilled technicians who are able to compete in the labor market. Finally, there is a specialized practical master’s degree awarded to 1,000 learners every year through the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI), which aims to build human capital in advanced technical areas and develop the youth’s innovative capacities in the areas of data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, robotics, automation and digital arts.

In terms of digital innovation, Egypt aims to build and foster an ecosystem that promotes research and development, innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of ICT to drive sector growth, support sustainable national development, and position the country as a regional innovation hub.

According to Ambassador Ahmed Shehabeldin, one of the foundations of Digital Egypt is creating a robust digital infrastructure, which also includes offering and maintaining high-quality communications services.

Like Egypt, the Philippines aims to transform into a truly digital nation the soonest we can. In forging stronger cooperation between our two countries, there can be exchange of knowledge, technical expertise, experiences and best practices on our respective journey towards digitalization.

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