Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Amr Talaat speaks to the senate on Monday 26 December, 2022. Photo courtesy of Egyptian cabinet Facebook page.
The 18-article bill, approved by the cabinet in October 2021, got a preliminary approval from the Senate on 12 December, and will find its way to the House of Representatives to be finally discussed and voted.
The fund will help develop Egypt's digital identity system, localise technology, improve digital literacy, establish data centers, modernise existing digital government services and systems, support young innovators, and finance technical studies on infrastructure development, said a Senate report
The Digital Egypt Fund will be headquartered in Cairo, with the potential to add regional branches, and will operate across government departments to further the goals of Digital Egypt initiative.
The fund's financial resources will come from cash and in-kind donations and grants, loans, sales of research and innovation projects, services, investment returns, and allocations from the state budget. The fund's financial resources will be deposited into an account with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and will be subject to the supervision of the Central Auditing Agency, article 13 states.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Amr Talaat told senators that the fund's financial resources will be used to serve additional three objectives: promoting local demand on information technology, boosting Egypt's digital exports to foreign markets and generating job opportunities in the field of telecommunications and information technology.
"We aim to create a new generation of entrepreneurship leaders in the field of advanced communications and information technology," said Talaat, adding that "the Ministry has signed agreements with 29 international companies to export outsourcing services to international markets."
"In other terms, the fund will serve the state's initiative of linking 60 databases and 33,000 government buildings in different sectors over three years, with a total cost of EGP 5 billion," said Talaat, indicating that "right now we have a partnership with the Health Ministry to digitise health insurance services and with the Higher Education Ministry to digitise the exam systems."
Talaat indicated that Egypt's telecommunications sector achieved a growth rate of 16.2 per cent in 2022, while the state's investments in digital transformation projects have reached EGP 50 billion in the same year.
"As a result, Egypt now ranks number one in Africa in terms of fixed internet speed, up from number 40, not to mention that Ministry of Communications is currently working with local internet service companies to improve the cellphone network's digital infrastructure, and by the end of this year, the number of cell phone signal towers will reach 2,850 ones, up from 2,000 in 2021 and 1,200 in 2020," said Talaat.