Introduction - Egypt

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 97.04 million inhabitants (July 2017 CIA World FactBook) with literacy rate of 73.8%. 64.9% of the total population is between 15 and 64 years of age. Cairo has a population of 18.77 million and Alexandria 4.778 million (2015). The official language is Arabic, with English, French and German widely used within the education systems.

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 6.29 million fixed line subscribers and 100.31 million mobile subscribers (111.56% penetration) as at 30 June 2017. There were 32.07 million mobile Internet subscriptions, 3.28 million USB modem subscribers and 4.77 ADSL subscribers as at 30 June 2017.

In terms of ICT Infrastructure, FLAG, SMW4 and SMW3 are the three marine cables connecting Egypt to the rest of the world. The existing backbone is a result of the PPP between the Egyptian Government and the private sector. Telecom Egypt is the largest provider of fixed line services. 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 four mobile providers: We (launched by Telecom Egypt in September 2017), Orange, Vodafone, and Etisalat Misr. National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) officially activated the high-speed 4G service to the four mobile service providers in September 2017.

CAIX, the National IXP, was established in 2002, funded by the Government of Egypt through MCIT and managed by National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA). CAIX's mission is to connect all Class A and B ISPs in Egypt to exchange the local traffic inside Egypt and safe their international bandwidth. All Class A ISPs are members in CAIX. There are four ISPs (TEDATA, Vodafone, OrangeDSL, Etisalat) connected via giga interface and three ISPs (Noor, MenaNet, YALLA) via Fast Ethernet.

The "eMisr" National Broadband plan is committed to increasing broadband internet penetration in Egypt and endorsing the development of a digital society. The plan was launched in 2011 and was revised in 2014. It proposes different strategic directives to meet Egypt's broadband service needs. It aims to position Egypt as a leader in digital communications, create more job opportunities and promote the use of ICTs across government sectors, thus improving quality of life for citizens and reducing the digital divide between urban and rural communities.

The Government established a root certificate authority (PKI Trust center) at the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Governmental Certificate Authority at the Ministry of Finance. 3 private sector owned CAs were licensed, of which two are operational. Plans are ongoing to integrate the PKI digital certificates within the (contactless smart) national ID card. Several PKI based pilot projects and services have been launched in the governmental sector, banks and stock market.

Egypt is a member of several international organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Mobile Satellite Association (IMSO), and the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (ITSO) and IGF. It is also a partner in GSM Association. It is a member in the Arab Regulators Network (AREGNET), the Arab ministerial conference affiliated to the League of Arab States, the Euro-Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) and (ARICEA) Association of Regulators of Information and Communication for Eastern and Southern Africa.

There are 29 public universities, 43 private universities and more than 400 private institutions of higher education. Of these 66 have Departments focused on ICT/Engineering.

SDS (Sustainable Development Strategy): Egypt's Vision 2030 pays specific attention to enhancing scientific research, upgrading the technological capabilities, encouraging innovation and increasing R&D spending as they represent the core for the sustainable development of the country. The main pillars of Vision 2030 are outlined in this diagram:

ICT Background

There is a strong emphasis on applied ICT research and development as Egypt diversifies from natural resources to a focus on creativity and innovation. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) launched an R&D initiative with a set of strategic objectives to emphasise the importance of, and promote, R&D in the ICT industry and the applications of ICT R&D in other sectors. This initiative launched Research and Development Centres of Excellence to support collaboration between academic and industrial institutions at a national and international level. The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (TIEC) aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT and thus drive the economy.

In the formulation of Egypt's ICT Policy (2013 - 2017), the primary considerations were the political and economic changes in Egypt since the 25th January 2011 revolution, the development of the communications sector both regionally and internationally, supporting the country's transition to democracy and Egypt's national development priorities. The new strategy is focused on achieving sustainable socio-economic development through Digital Identify using ICT solutions, ICT Industry Development, creating job opportunities and attracting Foreign Direct Investment. It focuses on integrating ICTs across all sectors to serve national development priorities, including preserving natural resources and the environment. Key ICT sectors to be supported include Digital Identity, Egypt Digital Hub, Basic Infrastructure (Broadband, Cloud Computing, Submarine Cables), Cyber Security & eSignature, Information Infrastructure & Digital Content, Electronics Design & Manufacturing, Legislative and Policies Framework.

The National ICT Policy (2013 - 2017) is an important part of the National Development Plan building on Egypt's unique geographical location and optimum utilisation of Submarine Cables to become a Global Internet Hub. The eGovernment Strategy has been in place with MCIT's policies since 2003 and its implementation follows three guiding policies: Citizen Centric Service Delivery; Community Participation and Efficient Allocation of Government Resources. The policies are sub-divided by the primary sector that will implement them:

- Government - focused on Cloud Computing, Digital Identity Management, Open Source Software, Access to information, Green ICT and Arabic Digital Content

- CIvil Society - focused on Mobile Phone Applications, Arabic Digital Content, Empowering people with disabilities

- Private sector - focused on eCommerce

In February 2012, the five-year ICDL-Egypt Scholarship Program concluded, having provided ICDL certification to 836,801 Egyptians, 58% of whom were female. The MCIT and the ECDL Foundation launched a new phase of the ICDL-Egypt Scholarship Program, running from 2012 to 2013, with a further 5,530 candidates certified in November 2013.

In September 2011, MCIT launched the IT Houses initiative to offer training courses, eGovernment service and SMS services. As at August 2014, there were 126 IT Houses established across the country. There were 2,163 IT Clubs of which 1,955 are connected to the Internet.

MCIT supports the development of a knowledge and digital economy by providing affordable access to knowledge and development of a competitive, innovative national ICT industry.

The "National Technology Leaders" was launched in 2015 as a country wide presidential initiative. This initiative aims to raise the competency of youth in all technology fields. It utilizes e-learning and interactive teacing methodologies to build capacity of students on a large scale. Special interest is also given to people with disabilities. In October 2017, it was reported that there are more than 5,000 graduates from this initiative who have received high quality training from international universities and research centers in many advanced technology areas.

ICT 2030 strategy supports the development of the communications sector both regionally and internationally by designing new initiatives such as the electronics design and manufacturing and capacity building to maximize ICT contributions to the economic growth of the country.

In May 2016 the MCIT established the Silicon Waha , a joint stock company that aims at creating a series of specialized business and technology parks across 2nd tier cities in Egyptian governorates. The company stakeholders include the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT), Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), and the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) of Egypt. The vision is "to reach out to Egypt's talented youth everywhere and provide the ecosystem that enables them to create value through the transformation of innovation and technological advancements for Egypt's welfare and to lead the way to a better life style in our communities". It aims to establish 6 technology parks across Egypt (Borg Al Arab, New Assiut, 10 Ramadan, Sadat City, Beni Suef, Aswan), with the first three expected to open during 2017.

ICT represents a core component in all country intiatives and large-scale projects. The new capital city of Egypt is designed to be smart and it heavily uses ICT advanced technologies from the infrastructure level to citizen applications and services. This smart city aims to attract large numbers of technological personnel from innovators, technicians and entrepreneurs. It will include centers for research, science, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as some of the specialized universities, centers and institutes for technological training.