UPDATED: President Sisi inaugurates Digital Egypt Platform

MENA , Wednesday 6 Jul 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi virtually witnessed on Wednesday the inauguration of a number of Digital Egypt projects, which are affiliated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, at El-Manara International Conference Centre in the Fifth Settlement.

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The projects include the Digital Egypt Platform, which will provide e-services for all people.

El-Sisi said the launch of the platform emanates from the need for establishing a modern, contemporary, and digital state.

It also comes in line with Egypt’s 2030 Vision and the country’s strategy for achieving digital transformation.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat noted that a trial version of the platform has been launched for public testing over the past few months.

Through the platform, citizens are able to access more than 130 government services, including food rations, vehicle inquiry, notary services, and social insurance, Talaat said.

Furthermore, a documentary film bearing the title ‘Digital Egypt’ was shown during the inauguration of the projects and featured the digital work currently taking place in Egypt.

It also shed light on the efforts exerted by the ministry, including a project to connect the 33,000 government buildings nationwide to the fibre-optic network at a cost of up to EGP six billion.

To date, more than 18,000 government buildings have been connected to this network, according to the film.

Among the other projects inaugurated via video conference, El-Sisi inaugurated the submarine cable landing stations in Ras Ghareb, Zaafarana, and Sidi Kreir, along with the Telecom Egypt Regional Data Hub.

Moreover, El-Sisi inaugurated a number of innovation centres, including hubs in Aswan, Qena, Sohag, Minya, and Ismailia. He also inaugurated other innovative centres in Mansoura, Menoufiya, and in the Palace of Sultan Hussein Kamel in Cairo.

Furthermore, the president witnessed the inauguration of the Post Office Museum in Ataba Square after its renovation.

Digital transformation

Egypt is currently exerting significant efforts to digitise its services and rely on AI, El-Sisi said during the ceremony, stressing that the cost would be huge.

Talaat affirmed that his ministry’s strategy focuses on three main goals — cooperating with various state bodies in providing governmental services to citizens, providing highly efficient and stable telecommunication services, along with enabling youths to compete effectively in the labour market.

All of the state’s projects mainly aim to provide seamless services to the citizens, Talaat added.

He also said that these services are being implemented under the umbrella of digital transformation, which means digitising all governmental procedures, the minister added.

The minister noted that the projects started five years ago with the establishment of Egypt’s information infrastructure, hailing the tireless efforts exerted by various state institutions in coordination with the Administrative Control Authority to establish Egypt’s information structure.

He affirmed that to date, about 20,000 government buildings have been connected to this network.

Furthermore, Talaat stressed the importance of the e-signature service for citizens, saying that Egyptians living abroad stand to gain the most from this service, as previously, they had to travel long distances to conduct their affairs at an Egyptian consulate or embassy; but now, they can send their documentation online with their e-signatures, facilitating the process for them.

The minister also said that this service will be launched in cooperation with the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs this year.

He further noted that his ministry is working with the Ministries of Health and Population and Finance to automate the universal health insurance system that started in Port Said.

Talaat added that this system is currently being implemented across the rest of the country, noting that his ministry — in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research — will automate 73 university hospitals. 

Digital infrastructure

Additionally, the minister asserted that the digital infrastructure in Egypt is different from many world countries, expounding that Egypt has local and international infrastructures given that it is a main corridor for data in the world.

He also said more than 90 percent of data exchanged between Asia and Europe passes through Egypt, noting that Egypt had six cable landing stations over the past 20 years, but over the past two years established three more cable landing stations in Ras Ghareb, Zafa’rana and Sidi Kreir.

Moreover, Egypt has six land routes established over the past 20 years spanning 2,700 kilometres, and over the past two years, Egypt built an additional five routes that are 2,650 kilometres long.

He affirmed that investments in landing stations and new routes are estimated at EGP 1.100 billion.

As Egypt plans to turn from a state through which data is crossing into a data host, Egypt established the largest international trade data centre in Cairo with Telecom Egypt (WE) at a 24-megawatt capacity and at investments of EGP 2.8 billion.

NAC’s construction progress

Furthermore, El-Sisi said on Wednesday that work is underway in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) that is being established by the NAC Company for Urban Development (NACCUD).

The NAC was not built by government funds, El-Sisi stressed during the ceremony, noting that the NACCUD now demands an annual EGP four billion from the government for using the government district in the New Capital, the president told the ceremony.

The president also made it clear that the cost of secured digital networks in the NAC is about EGP100 billion.

Additionally, he touched upon an automated government district that provides a favourable environment for digital action through data centres and secured networks.

This way, Egypt could transform from paper to digital processes using AI, which costs lots of money, El-Sisi said. 

Construction on the 700-square-kilometre NAC — which is nearly twice the area of Cairo governorate prior to redrawing its administrative borders — started in 2015 and is set to house 6.5 million people when completed.

It is located 60 kilometres from Cairo in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads.

The new capital boasts a government district with 10 ministerial complexes that will house 34 ministries, in addition to the headquarters of the Cabinet and the House of Representatives.

The NAC’s Government District provides an opportunity to enhance digital work in the country using its new data centres, President El-Sisi said during the ceremony.

Changing the education culture in Egypt

El-Sisi also called for changing education culture in Egypt, adding that students should not only obtain academic certificates, but also study new specialisations needed in the labour market.

Furthermore, the president said several faculties and universities providing new technological specialisations — including AI — have already been inaugurated and more educational institutions will be opened soon as well.

Moreover, he said the newly established faculties provide genuine education and a future, adding efforts should focus more on marketing these new specialisations needed by society.

The president also urged media outlets to pay greater attention to programmes that highlight young talents in IT.

Finally, he underscored the need to find and develop ideas to increase revenues, income, and wealth for both citizens and the homeland away from traditional methods, which are now insufficient.

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