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  • Sunday, 26 November 2023

The Ministers of International Cooperation, Transport and Local Development and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt Initiated the 2nd Workshop between the Government and the Joint UN Working Group on Technology and Innovation

● Al-Mashat: We are building on what was achieved in the first workshop to promote innovative solutions and technology-based project ideas between the government, UN agencies and the private sector.

● The 2nd workshop focuses on climate action and strengthening digital ecosystems through the components of the NWFE program.

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat; Lieutenant General Engineer Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport; Major General Hisham Amna, Minister of Local Development; and Ms. Elena Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, inaugurated the second workshop between the government and the United Nations to crystallize ideas about technology and innovation: the UN Joint Team of Technology & Innovation in Egypt (JTDI).

The workshop will be held over two days, with the participation of Dr. Ghada Labib, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Adel Darwish, Director of the ITU Regional Office for Arab States, Mr. Patrick J. Gilabert, Representative of the UNIDO Regional Office in Egypt, and Mrs. Dina Saleh, Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa, and Europe at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and other representatives of the government, the United Nations, the private sector, and academic entities.

The 2nd workshop focuses on climate action and strengthening digital ecosystems through the components of the  NWFE program, which drives innovation and partnership between the government and private sectors, builds capabilities, and enhances interaction between relevant parties to promote project ideas and solutions based on innovation to promote sustainable development, based on the success achieved in the 1st workshop, which resulted in many proposed projects in various areas of development.

In her opening speech, Al-Mashat explained that the second JTDI workshop comes as a continuation of the efforts made since the first workshop was held in 2022 to formulate innovative and original project ideas and create close partnerships between national entities and United Nations agencies in Egypt and the private sector, in the fields of technology and innovation, and the exchange of best practices and international trade in various sectors.

Al-Mashat explained that the first workshop resulted in 4 proposed projects in the field of supporting rural tourism, the unified transportation card system and smart transportation solutions for passengers in Greater Cairo, the Egyptian heritage digitization project, and a project for an integrated coordination platform for local development for the effective use of resources, in coordination between concerned national authorities and international agencies.

H.E. pointed out that based on these results, the importance of the second workshop comes in light of the presidential assignments of the Ministry of International Cooperation to supervise the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Country Framework 2023-2027, which represents the cornerstone of cooperation between Egypt and the United Nations to promote solutions based on technology and innovation.

H.E. noted that the 2nd workshop also focuses on the NWFE platform, which works to mobilize climate finance and investments to support the green transformation in Egypt and accelerate the implementation of Egypt’s Climate Change Strategy 2050. She stressed that this cooperation with the United Nations reflects the government’s interest in research and development as effective tools to keep pace with the era characterized by rapid technological development, pointing to the remarkable development over the past decade of the Egyptian state’s indicators within the Global Innovation Index issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where Egypt advanced from 108th place globally in 2013 to 86th place globally out of 132 countries.

In light of this, the Ministry of International Cooperation is working with all development partners and within the framework of the government’s work program to promote innovation and stimulate private sector participation to advance development efforts, and follow up on the results and outputs of joint workshops to create innovative partnerships and expand investments in technology and innovation projects.

The Minister of Transport, Lieutenant General Engineer Kamel Al-Wazir, said that the Ministry of Transport is currently implementing a comprehensive plan to develop and modernize the elements of the transportation system, including means and networks -roads and bridges - railways - subways and electric traction - seaports - land and dry ports and logistical areas - river transport. That was during the period (2014-2024) with investments of EGP2 trillion, one of the most important elements of this plan is the introduction of transportation services technology to develop management and operating systems and improve the quality of transportation services provided to citizens.

Major General Hisham Amna pointed out the interest of the Ministry of Local Development in using technology and promoting innovation, as in recent years it launched the Ayady Masr (Hands of Egypt) platform, with technical support from the World Food Program, to provide support for locally produced products in the electronic marketing of craft and handmade products that characterize Egyptian villages, and to train producers on craft production.

Major General Hisham Amna explained that the Ministry launched the “Your Voice is Heard” initiative in October 2018 by creating an interactive page on Facebook and the WhatsApp application for the Ministry to receive complaints from citizens in all governorates of the Republic through it, follow up on resolving issues of complaints with the concerned authorities and communicate with citizens, pointing out that The Ministry of Local Development recently linked the technological centers in neighborhoods and centers to an electronic system at the Ministry of Local Development in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the governorates, which is based on linking the provision and follow-up of procedural services to citizens such as issuing various licenses and permits and other local services.

The Minister of Local Development said that the second project is to create an electronic platform for integrated development aimed at coordinating and directing the governorates’ development efforts, whether for sectoral ministries, governorates, international community organizations, or international development agencies, in a way that reveals development gaps and helps direct development projects to areas that are less fortunate than the attention of development agencies, just as In fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation and the World Bank, great projects were completed in the Upper Egypt Development Project and the positive impact it had on changing the form of services provided to citizens in some governorates of Upper Egypt.

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Office in Egypt, Elena Panova, said that technology plays a vital role in shaping our global system. They provide unparalleled opportunities to correct the course of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and meeting our climate ambitions.

Panova added: “Digital technologies, if applied in the highest emitting sectors, namely energy, materials and mobility, have the potential to reduce global emissions by 20% by 2050.”

Panova also said that that the United Nations in Egypt is committed to this vision and it has been integrated into the UNSDCF 2023-2027 with the Egyptian government, especially since digitization and innovation are two major strategic enabling factors that include all areas of the cooperation framework, to ensure that everyone benefits from Digital transformation and Internet communications, explaining that UNIDO leads the United Nations Joint Team on Digital Transformation and Innovation - JTDI - in a strong partnership with the Ministry of International Cooperation.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Ghada Labib, said that innovation and digital transformation are among the basic pillars of Egypt’s digital strategy and Egypt’s vision for sustainable development. The Applied Innovation Center was established with the aim of enhancing the use of emerging information and communications technology in analyzing national challenges and finding solutions to them, while developing human capital and creating the appropriate environment for establishing innovative institutions and enhancing their success. Since the establishment of the Applied Innovation Center in 2020, the Center has been able to establish successful partnerships with a number of major research institutions to implement projects using the latest technologies in a number of fields such as agriculture, health, and natural language processing.

She explained that it is within the framework of the role played by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to provide the necessary technological infrastructure to support and develop the state’s sectors and build digital Egypt. In the areas of preserving and preserving our heritage digitally, the Egyptian state launched a project to establish the Egypt Digital Heritage Platform and contribute to making the cultural product available digitally to everyone, keeping pace with the language of the times, as well as achieving this availability to all segments of the public, as a basic pillar for activating the cultural justice that the Ministry of Culture aims to achieve. There was also cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to use the latest international technologies in implementing its plans to develop its services and make them available digitally, as well as in promoting tourist and archaeological attractions, in addition to providing the necessary digital mechanisms to maximize communication between tourists and tourist attractions in Egypt.

The Ministry of International Cooperation had held a meeting to discuss the proposal to establish a platform to promote rural tourism in Egypt, at the Ministry’s headquarters in the New Administrative Capital, in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of Local Development, the United Nations Development Programme, the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, and entrepreneurs in the field of tourism, as the project is one of the outcomes of the first workshop held last year.