Egypt has prepared its national strategy for Artificial Intelligence under the theme “Artificial Intelligence for Development and Prosperity”. The strategy aims to benefit from AI technology to achieve Egypt’s development goals and advance economic growth.
In a recent conference held in Egypt on AI, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat said that Egypt seeks to build a strong and sustainable AI industry including skills, technology, business climate, infrastructure, and legal and regulatory frameworks.
Paperless, participatory, digital
Thanks to its efforts, Egypt has advanced 55 places on the Government Artificial Intelligence (AI) Readiness Index 2020. Dr Talaat said that the coming three years should witness increased reliance on AI applications and solutions in government sectors. This owes to projects currently implemented to achieve digital transformation and to implement the government’s relocation plan to the New Administrative Capital as a paperless, participatory, and digital government.
The ICT Minister’s words were said on 30 May during the opening of the 25th session of the World AI Show which Egypt hosted for the first time under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), organised by “Trescon Global”, online, in cooperation with Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).
Under the theme “Nurturing the AI ecosystem in Egypt”, a group of the most prominent IT experts in the fields of AI and machine learning, senior executives and consultants, participated in the conference, aiming to explore the AI market in Egypt, and adapt its applications to meet the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Highest growing sector
Dr Talaat said that Egypt is taking serious steps to implement the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which is an important component in building “Digital Egypt”, through which the Egyptian society will be transformed into a digital one by digitising institutions’ work systems. This contributes to improving the efficiency of services and providing them in a more transparent manner, while enabling community members to deal efficiently with technology. In addition, it seeks to make Egypt a producer and exporter of technology, a matter that would contribute to achieving economic growth through innovation and technological progress.
The ICT Minister said that the ICT sector is the highest growing sector in the country for the second year in a row. The growth rate is expected to reach 16 per cent during the current fiscal year. Employment rates in the sector have grown by 20 per cent over the past three years, and the sector’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP has jumped by about 40 per cent since 2018. Dr Talaat pointed out that investment in capacity building programmes has doubled eight times over the past three years, as a plan is being implemented to train more than 115,000 individuals during this year in various levels of technological programmes at a cost of EGP400 million.
Dr Talaat ascertained that the Egyptian government is keen to establish partnerships between the public and private sectors to disseminate emerging technologies and benefit from AI technology in development sectors. He recalled the success of this model in implementing projects in the fields of agriculture, health care, economic planning and smart infrastructure. He pointed out that Egypt is currently building 15 smart cities within an ambitious plan to build 30 new ones expected to accommodate more than 14 million people and provide more than six million new job opportunities. The private sector is a key partner in building and operating these smart cities basing on modern technologies, he said.
Top in outsourcing
Earlier, Dr Talaat had lauded Egypt’s achievement of ranking top Middle East and Africa country in outsourcing on the Kearney’s Global Services Location Index 2021. Globally, Egypt ranked 15th among some 60 countries, the only Middle Eastern and African country to make it to the top 20, recording 5.62 percent in the index.
Mr Talaat said that Egypt had offered outsourcing services to 100 countries in 20 languages, and had thus garnered 17 per cent of the global outsourcing services.
Egypt’s digital exports, the Minister said, had grown 173 per cent since 2014, from USD1.5 billion to USD4.1 billion in 2020. Economic expert Abu-Bakr al-Deeb expects these exports to grow to USD6 billion in 2025. Mr Talaat said that Egypt would continue to work to grow these exports and strengthen Egypt’s position in cross border outsourcing and information technology services, also in attracting foreign investment in the communications sector.
Kearney’s index analyses 47 metrics across four main categories, including financial attractiveness (35 per cent), people skills and availability (25 per cent), business environment (25 per cent), and digital resonance (15 per cent).
The Kearney report noted that Egypt is considered a unique location owing to its financial attractiveness, competitive compensation offers, and infrastructure costs. It also highlighted Egypt’s progress in developing the ICT sector.
9 June 2021