Egypt's ICT Ministry looks for new international partners

Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has encouraged the country's ambassador to Serbia and the newly appointed ambassador to the Russian Federation, who also serves as non-resident ambassador to Belarus, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, to focus on cooperation in ICT.

Ambassador to Serbia Amr Aljowaily met Minister Yasser Elkady to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries in ICT, according to a statement from the Ministry.

"The ICT Minister reviewed the positive developments achieved by the Egyptian ICT sector, stating that the [mooted] Egyptian-Serbian cooperation framework should include new horizons to keep up with these developments through the projects that will have a positive return for both countries. The meeting also discussed the possibility of establishing an Egyptian-Serbian business forum in the ICT field that fosters direct communication between leading companies in both countries and develops opportunities for effective partnerships," stated Elkady.

The Minister also met ambassador to the Russian Federation Ihab Talaat and discussed the terms of a framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on telecommunications cooperation between Egypt and the Russian Federation signed in March 2016.

"During the meeting, they (Elkady and Ambassador Talaat) discussed the Letter of Intent (LoI) - attached to the MoU and signed between operators of telecommunications services in both countries - aiming to reduce international roaming tariffs. They underscored the significance of implementing the agreement terms to prepare for the presence of large numbers of Egyptian citizens to encourage the national football team at the World Cup in Russia 2018."

Elkady is said to have also underlined the importance of enhancing mutual cooperation and opening effective channels to attract investments in his meeting with Ambassador Talaat.

International deals

The pursuance of agreements with Serbia and Russia by Egypt comes a few weeks after Egypt signed a three-year tripartite MoU aimed at fostering cooperation in ICT and supporting research, innovation and entrepreneurship with Cyprus and Greece.

The MoU was signed by ElKady, together with the Cypriot Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Marios Demetriades, and the Greek Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Information Nikos Pappas.

Representatives from Cyprus, Egypt and Greece have since convened the first steering committee meeting organised in Cyprus.

Egypt's ICT Minister has also recently committed to improving the country's global standings by infusing ICT in the education system and adding digital content, information systems, applications and technological infrastructure provided by local and international IT companies.

The ITU's 2016 ICT Development Index, which compares 175 countries, placed Egypt in the 100th spot globally and in 5th place among African countries, behind Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa who make up the top three.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report for the year 2016 to 2017 placed Egypt in 106th place out of 138 countries.