Egypt is situated in Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and sharing boundaries with Libya and the Gaza Strip. It has a surface area of 1,001,450 square km, made up of twenty-seven administrative divisions. The population is estimated at 83.6 million inhabitants (July 2012) with literacy rate of 72%. The official languages are Arabic, English and French.
The Government of Egypt recognizes the ICT sector as a critical component of the national economy, not only due to its substantial contribution to employment, exports and diversification of the economy, but for its dynamic and innovative potential, and its broader role in providing enabling technologies, products and services that underpin the development of Egypt as a knowledge-based economy in the global market.
In relation to Communications, according to MCIT and NTRA published statistics, there were 8.41 million fixed line subscribers and 92.64 million mobile subscribers (112.81% penetration) in July 2012. In terms of Internet usage, there were 31.03 million Internet users (37.70% penetration), with 2.03 million ADSL subscribers and 10.87 mobile Internet users in July 2012.
There are 19 public universities, 16 private universities and 400 private institutions of higher education. Of these 35 have Departments focused on ICT/Engineering.
In terms of ICT Infrastructure Telecom Egypt is the largest provider of fixed line services, with over 8 million customers as at December 2011. It also provides retail telecommunications services (voice, Internet and data) and is the sole provider of wholesale telecommunications services. It provides broadband capacity leasing to ISPs and national and international interconnection services. Egypt has three mobile providers of which Vodafone Egypt has a growing subscriber based of over 36.8 million as at December 2011. In August 2011, Telecom Egypt and Alcatel-Lucent announced the provision of the TE-NORTH Cable, providing 4G.
Emphasis is placed on continuing research and development in the application of ICT in industries to allow Egypt to become and remain a world-class competitor. Progress is seen as no longer dependent on natural resources but rather on creativity and innovation. To boost this concept, the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) launched an initiative with a specified set of strategic objectives to emphasise the importance of, and promote, R&D in ICT industry and the applications of ICT R&D in other sectors. The MCIT R&D initiative materialized in the form of Research and Development Centres of Excellence. Creating mechanisms for the collaboration between academic and industrial institutions on the local and international levels is a key feature and goal of MCIT's R&D Centres of Excellence. The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (TIEC) aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT and thus drive the economy.
Egypt's ICT Policy (2012 - 2017) has been published in Arabic. The key ICT sectors planned to be supported include Green ICT, Arabic e-Content, Cloud Computing, Digital Identity, Data Access, e-Commerce, Mobile Applications, PCs for Education, Open-Source Applications, and People with Disabilities (PWDs) Information Access.
During 2012, 836,801 candidates were certified in the ICDL programme. It is planned that 75,000 people will be trained during 2013.
In September 2011, MCIT launched the IT Houses initiative to offer training courses, eGovernment service and SMS services. As at July 2012, there were 71 IT Houses established across the country. There were 2,163 IT Clubs of which 1,955 are connected to the Internet.
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