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UNCTAD Praises Egyptian ICT Sector- Cairo, 27 October 2011

Egypt is poised to emerge as a major player in the information economy, according to UNCTAD’s first edition ever of Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Policy Review of the country.

At a special session in Geneva, the UNCTAD celebrated the announce of results of the ICT Policy Review for Egypt as the report mentions that Egypt could  emerge as a major player in the global information economy.

The event was attended by H.E, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Mohamed Salem and Ambassador Hisham Badr, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations and in addition to a participation of a high-level Egyptian Delegation and members of the Egyptian Mission (to Geneva).

Dr. Mohamed Salem, hailed the UNCTAD recommendations, stating that he "thinks of 2011 as the dawn of a new era for ICT in Egypt, with even more Egyptians joining and embracing the information society as we continue to work to forge a knowledge economy”.

Amongst the attendees of the event are; large number of Ambassadors and members of diplomatic missions resident in Geneva in addition to a number of representatives of international organizations such as; the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the World Trade Center, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as well as representatives of some international ICT companies (working in the field of ICT).

It should be noted that UNCTAD cooperated with Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to conduct an ICT policy review model. It is considered the first report of its kind of policy review which was adopted by the Egyptian Government over the past 5 years.

The review was prepared in almost one year and half by a group of experts of UNCTAD in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

The study is based on a large number of studies, information and local reports in addition to a large number of interviews with economic experts and affiliated organizations at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology as well as international and local private sector companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the field of ICT.

The review, also, included interviews with the leaders of ministries and governmental bodies in Egypt to find out the impact and coverage of ICT plans and strategies of these entities.

Mr. Draganov, Deputy Secretary General – UNCTAD and Ms. Anne Miroux, Director of UNCTAD Technology and Logistics Division commended on the policies taken by Egypt to promote ICT sector.

Among the top of these policies; liberalization of telecommunications, human development policies, habilitation of cadres specialized in the field of communications and information technology in order to work in international, local and regional markets.

The review referred to Egypt’s success which has been achieved in exporting ICT services and the strategic plans adopted by the government in cooperation with the Egyptian private sector companies so that Egypt held an international position in business process outsourcing exports map. Therefore, Egypt has surged from the 12th position in 2007 to the 6th in 2009 and the 4th in 2011.

Ambassador for the Mission of Finland in Geneva pointed out that this is the first report of its kind and Egypt plays a leading role in the ICT field in the region.

He further added that the results of this report will contribute in building Egypt’s economy, communications and information technology and other sectors related to this field.

The Minister of Communications of the Republic of Benin congratulated Egypt for implementing this study. He, also, added that he will follow the example of Egypt and he will submit a formal request to UNCTAD in order to implement and review policies of communications and information technology in the Republic of Benin.

It is worth mentioning that Singapore’s Ambassador has praised that Egypt is, always, a pioneer in following and implementing of such experiences.

Moreover, she referred to Egypt’s achievements over the past ten years in the field of ICT. Singapore’s Ambassador, also, pointed out to the position that Egypt had achieved in the index of interaction between individuals and associations with E-government in 2010 as Egypt was ranked 23 among 192 countries.

During the event, Singapore’s Ambassador tackled Egypt’s mobile phone market which is considered as one of the largest and most important markets in the Arab region as Egypt has made significant progress in this field. She has been attributed to the fact that Egypt was able to develop the infrastructure system through the optical fiber cables.

Furthermore, she requested that Egypt should give great importance to education in the next phase and to shifting towards export high value-added services.

Ambassador for the Mission of Iraq in Geneva thanked Egypt, while attending the event, for its generosity in providing the national telecommunications plan for Iraq.

In this context, Iraq has developed a similar plan, he, also, praised to the Egyptian successful model in establishing technological communities which help organizations and companies working in ICT field to be available in the same place.

As for the Tunisian Ambassador, he commended for the outstanding efforts achieved by Egypt and Tunisia in the field of communication and information technology as well as studying the policy review which can contribute to greater progress in this field. He, also, stressed that ICT has played an important role in Egypt and Tunisia politically and socially.

In his speech at the event, H.E Ambassador Hisham Badr, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations asked the donor countries which are participating at the event to increase its aid which allocated to science and technology for the development process.

At the end of the event, the representative to the United Nations in Geneva and the representative to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) stressed that Egypt has played a leading role in the field of communication and information technology. This is due to its available possibilities as well as the institutional and human resources capacity and this encouraged ITU to choose Egypt to open its regional office in order to serve the Arab region as a whole.

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