Minister Mohamed Salem,
Minister Max Ahoueke,
Representatives of the private sector and international organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to welcome you to UNCTAD on the occasion of the presentation of the ICT Policy Review (ICTPR) of Egypt. This is, indeed a special occasion: the very first such Review carried out by the UNCTAD Secretariat in response to the mandate we were given in Accra.
It is no coincidence that Egypt is the focus of this Review. The Government of Egypt recognized the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for its economic and social development at an early stage. Ever since its first national ICT master plan formulated in 2000, the potential of ICT has remained high on the political agenda. The high-level representation from Egypt and the close cooperation and support during the preparation of this Review further testifies to the strong commitment of the Government to the Policy Review process. It has been an enriching experience to work together on the Review, which was funded by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and UNDP. I would also like to thank the Ambassador of Finland for taking the time to chair this meeting as well as for his Government´s generous support of our work on ICTs.
I am very pleased to see such strong interest from other member States here today. The purpose of our meeting is to present and discuss the main findings and recommendations of the Review. It is also an opportunity for the Government of Egypt to reflect on the recommendations and to share its views on what´s next in the ICT strategy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Egypt has a unique set of circumstances and strengths that make it a key player in the information society. Since the 1990s, the Government of Egypt has created multiple institutions and designed several strategic plans to support the adoption and use of ICTs by the public and private sectors. In this context, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology concluded that an evaluation of the impact of the most recent strategy was desirable. In response, it requested the UNCTAD Secretariat to carry out this review.
UNCTAD´s policy review framework draws on our ongoing work on ICT policies and on ICT measurement for economic development and trade. The core aim of the Review is to assess the implementation of national ICT strategies by examining how ICT and e-business development issues have been operationalized in development strategies and to identify policies, programs and implementation mechanisms that favour the development of the information economy.
The Review documents the progress made to date in five priority areas, identifies the key challenges ahead for creating a more inclusive information economy, and makes specific policy recommendations. Where appropriate, reference is made to international best practice that could help the Government stake out its next medium- to long-term strategic ICT objectives and policy options.
The UNCTAD Review stresses that the next strategy must be considered against the background of the ambitious goal set by the Government to make Egypt a frontrunner in the information and knowledge society. It is essential that it builds on achievements already made, addresses areas in which progress has been less pronounced, and keeps up with the continuous technological and market changes occurring in the global ICT landscape. The Director of our Division on Technology and Logistics, Ms Anne Miroux, will present the main findings and recommendations of the Review in a minute.
Before concluding, let me encourage you to make use of the platform that UNCTAD is offering and to engage in a frank dialogue, exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices. I know that many countries nurture similar aspirations and face similar challenges as Egypt. In this context, I am very pleased to welcome the high-level presence from UNCTAD member States as well as distinguished participants from the private sector and other international organizations. I look forward to an engaging discussion.
Thank you very much.