Cairo, September 2020: Egypt’s digital transformation program and the swift response of the Government of Egypt amid the Covid-19 pandemic are among the topical issues explored by Amr Talaat, the country’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, in an in-depth video interview (vidcast) he gave to Oxford Business Group (OBG)’s Harry van Schaick, the global research and advisory Regional Editor.
Talaat said that prudent decisions taken last year enabled Egypt to accommodate the inevitable rise in demand for internet access when the pandemic arrived. “The eruption of the pandemic was coupled with an immediate surge in internet usage patterns in terms of the number of people online and the peak hours, both of which in fact doubled. People simply went fully digital for most aspects in life,” he said. “Luckily we executed a major fortification project during 2019 that enabled the infrastructure in Egypt to absorb the unprecedented and unplanned multiplication of loads and pressure on the infrastructure.”
The full interview is available to view at https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/blog/harry-van-schaick/obg-talks/how-has-egypts-ict-sector-responded-covid-19
Talaat explained that government response was progressive and unprecedented; where the ministry, together with other government entities, focused on providing support and services in key areas that were designated priorities led by education, public health information related to Covid-19 and working remotely.
“Now the culture of working from home is prevalent in Egypt for maybe two or three months and is getting more and more acceptable,” he told OBG audience.
Turning to Egypt’s digital transformation drive, Talaat said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated national efforts to digitize government services and encourage citizens to embrace digital government services. He added that preparations were now under way for the phased launch of ‘Digital Egypt’, the government services platform. Currently 70 services are offered on the platform and by mid 2021 all services will be available.
During his talk, Talaat also highlighted the dual role that ICT plays as both a standalone industry and provider of support to other sectors of the economy allowing them to improve their performance and productivity, efficiency and ability to serve citizens by introducing innovative technologies. The Minister referred to a new applied research centre that develops impactful solutions jointly with global specialized firms. The centre utilizes advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, data science and cyber security to address challenges in the fields of medicine, education, agriculture, irrigation and water management, and training.
The talk with Minister Talaat is OBG’s latest vidcast, a go-to research tool, in which high-profile representatives from the public and private sectors answer pertinent questions on topical issues relating to the economic development of emerging economies and their investment opportunities. The company is also currently producing a range of country-specific Covid-19 Economic Impact Assessment articles and interviews.
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