Egypt needs to invest more in human capital ras well as in infrastructure to be able to achieve a successful digital transformation process, especially with the new normal the COVID-19 pandemic has created, said President of American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Egypt Sherif Kamel.
Kamel's comments came as an answer to Ahram Online's question on what kind of challenges Egypt has to deal with for a better digital transformation process, especially amid the crisis.
This was during a virtual event held on Wednesday organised by Portulans Institute, the Washington DC-based non-profit think tank , with the support of UNESCO, the American University in Cairo, and the AmCham in order to discuss the results of the recent edition of the Network Readiness Index (NRI) released by Portulans Institute.
The report includes annual rankings assessing how countries are ready to leverage information technologies to be future-ready.
In this latest edition, 134 economies are covered. The report’s title is ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation in a post-COVID Global Economy.’
Kamel added that digital transformation in the MENA region needs policies and an environment that supports the process, stressing that the region needs to be data driven to record achievements in this regard.
“Today is the opportune moment for Egypt and the MENA region to implement digital transformation in all life aspects. In this regard, the government must be the enabler and the private sector be the driver, while civil society should be the supporter to create the suitable environment for the successful digital transformation,” said Kamel.
Kamel noted that while only 14 percent of Egypt’s population is banking its money, around 13 million individuals have online wallets, which reflects how digital transformation is imperative.
Advisor to Egypt’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ahmed Tantawy unveiled that information and communication technology (ICT) constitutes 4 percent of Egypt’s GDP, stressing that it is a significant share that reflects how ICT is growing significantly in the country.
He added that all initiatives that Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is adopting in this regard focus on individual skills development, training young people, meeting job market requirements, advancing the infrastructure, and upgrading the legal frameworks.
According to the report, Egypt ranked 84th in the NRI 2020 and as such is the most network-ready country in Northern Africa.
The report said that the country appears to have a slight advantage in the level of ICT usage and skills among its people, especially in the government’s support of emerging technologies and of R&D activities.
Yet, Egypt’s weakest dimension is in ICT-related governance, where its challenges include improving regulation and ensuring more equal access to digital technologies throughout the population, according to the report.
The United Arab Emirates ranks 30th, Qatar is positioned in 38th place, while Saudi Arabia ranks third regionally and 41st globally in this 2020’s index.