Digitalization & Innovation

Dare to Dream

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

Dare to Dream

Right now, is the time to plant the seeds for short, medium and long term resilience through a strong entrepreneurial sector. In recent years, Egypt has shown itself as a startup hub as many of its youth are growing up with an entrepreneurial drive wishing to establish their own businesses. The country is witnessing the growth of a thriving sector, reflecting the adoption of new technologies, creativity and innovation coupled with sustainable solutions. The growth and scale of these businesses is determined by the public-private partnerships that take place today. Right now, innovation is key to powering through the jobs of tomorrow. The digital revolution has transformed our lives and societies with unprecedented speed and scale, with new technologies inevitably leading to a major shift in the labour market. With the pandemic hitting global economic and social development, the rise of the digital economy is viewed as a new engine for global economic recovery, with internet-related industries becoming more of a key focus area for development opportunities.

The digital economy will require a range of new and different skills, a new generation of social protection policies, and a new relationship between work and leisure.

There are incredibly vast opportunities for Egypt to become a regional powerhouse for digital transformation. We are seeing the rise of young, fresh and talented innovators and entrepreneurs in the market, particularly in the digital and fintech sectors, which places the country in a unique position to harness this potential and capitalize on the trends that are growing at present. New emerging technologies such IoT (Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning are currently coming to the fore, and this is most exemplified by the New Administrative Capital. The city is set to become the country’s first ever smart city, which will include a city-wide digital security system as well as a smart infrastructure to reduce consumption and cost with a focus on renewable energy using IoT.

People at the Core

With a burgeoning young population, it’s not just emerging technologies that are paving the way for digital transformation, but also a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Currently, Egypt has the highest number of startups deals in the MENA region with total funding in Egypt worth $95 million.

To move in the right direction forward, fostering partnerships with development partners, private sector and civil society organizations as well as mobilizing the vibrant national and international startup and innovation ecosystem are key steps that the Government of Egypt is currently undertaking. To ensure streamlined and efficient implementation of efforts, the Ministry of International Cooperation is working on connecting all stakeholders on the opportunities that lie ahead for digitization and entrepreneurship. Planning for the new world of work, the Ministry is bringing together development partners to promote technology transfer knowledge which will in return enhance and build the tech-capacity of the people. Digital entrepreneurship is of high topicality as technological developments and advances in infrastructure create various opportunities for entrepreneurs. Egypt is increasingly becoming the region’s entrepreneurial hub for its majority of young population, who are agile, adaptive, talented and innovative.

Projects in Action: From Ideation to Scalability

To encourage SDG-focused tech-inclusion and scale up impact, the Ministry of International Cooperation crafted a strategic framework to shift development ambitions into real tangible digital solutions; through four main components:

First: Prioritization; through the Ministry of International Cooperation’s Multi-Stakeholder Platforms to support economic cooperation between Egypt and its multilateral and bilateral partners in the field of digitalization and entrepreneurship.

Second: Idea Generation: Through addressing challenges and opportunities in the tech-sphere in coordination with development partners to search for new innovative ideas that can be implemented and encourage technology transfer through financing agreements on technical assistance. Third: Project Implementation; looking at the design and implementation of all digitalization and entrepreneurship projects. Fourth: Monitoring and Optimization; integrating the use of ICT solutions to ensure agility and efficiency in monitoring the implementation of projects; in addition to the Ministry of International Cooperation activities.

36 Projects in the Fields of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship

The Ministry of International Cooperation is working to keep pace with economic and technological developments, which promote development in Egypt. The development cooperation portfolio currently includes 36 projects in the fields of innovation, digital transformation and entrepreneurship. These projects contribute to achieving 11 of the 17 sustainable development goals with development financing of $1 billion; it represents about 4% of Egypt’s development financing portfolio. 

The second phase of the digital transformation program for the economic zone

In 2023, Al-Mashat witnessed the launching activities of the second phase of the technical support and digital transformation program for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which is being implemented in light of the partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the implementation of the Country Strategy, which enhances efforts to stimulate the private sector and the green transformation. and support comprehensive and sustainable growth.

The first phase of the program has achieved significant progress in accelerating the pace of procedures for investors in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which enhances the efficiency of the services provided and supports the government’s priorities to transform the region into a major development hub and enhance the competitive advantages available to investors from around the world, adding The second phase aims to simplify administrative procedures, accelerate the management of investor services, launch a unified and automated window that provides services to investors, and develop an effective, competitive and environmentally friendly business environment.

Electronic platform for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts

During the activities of the third edition of the African Intra-Trade Exhibition, which was held in Cairo under the patronage and honor of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, and Mr. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), launched the electronic platform for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts. The electronic platform for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts works to:- - Addressing the financing gap by enhancing international cooperation. - Attracting investments in the field of infrastructure, and bridging the information gap, by enhancing transparent communication between governments, the private sector, and international development partners. - Addressing the skills gap, by providing technical support, capacity building, and skills development to build a skilled workforce.

Global Climatech Run Competition

The Global Climatech Run competition is a realistic example of youth’s contribution to the transition to a green economy, and encouraging startups in the field of climate technology. During COP27, the Ministry of International Cooperation, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, launched the “ClimaTech Run 2022” international competition for startups working in climate action and technology.

The competition was organized by the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development, Afrexim Bank, the World Food Programme, Google, the United Nations Population Fund, General Motors, and the Mansour Group. In collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Development Impact Accelerator Labs of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Microsoft, AfriLabs, the Young Entrepreneurs Network, Falak Startups, and AfriLabs.

The competition witnessed a large international turnout of more than 422 startups from 77 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia applying to participate in the climate track, and more than 166 artists from 55 countries, including 16 artists from Africa, applied to the artistic track. During the climate conference activities, 5 emerging companies from Africa and around the world were honored;

Ryp Labs, which works in the field of food security and agriculture in the United States of America and Belgium, won an award worth $100,000.

Earthly, which works in the food security and agriculture sector, won a prize worth $50,000.

Koltiva, which works in the field of food security and agriculture in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Mexico, and Colombia, won a prize worth $25,000.

Start-up companies from Africa:

Bleaglee, who works in the field of waste management and recycling in Cameroon, won the center with a prize of $50,000.

LiquidGold, which works in the field of water resources management, came in second place with a $25,000 prize.

Companies operate in a variety of sectors aiming to combat climate change, reduce harmful emissions, expand clean energy practices for the green transition, and use technology, such as artificial intelligence, and large companies, data and analysis for innovative solutions. Interestingly, the 15 finalist startups are working together to reduce emissions by a total of about 400,000 tons of CO2, through the solutions they offer.

Since COP27, many partnerships have achieved significant milestones. For example, RypLabs was ranked among the top 50 cleantech companies and began pilot studies in Egypt to test its technology on several products. Furthermore, Earthly won the NatureTech Challenge 2023 organized by the World Economic Forum, received recognition for the leading nature-based venture in the market and was awarded the Best Startup of 2023 award at Retail Week Live.

In addition, Bleaglee has patented the innovation, begun construction of a new waste recycling plant, enhanced capacity by investing in two new waste collection trucks and expanded into Senegal. 

The second edition of the global competition Climatech Run

In 2023, in response to the high demand from companies in the first edition of the competition, the competition provided an opportunity for those startups that were not lucky in the first edition to apply in the second edition to enhance climate action efforts.

In cooperation with the Ministries of Communications and Information Technology, the Environment, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank Group, Microsoft, and the United States Agency for International Development, three additional selection criteria were added for startups: growth, flexibility, and innovation, with the aim of identifying startups that have the ability to making a significant positive change to the environment and society, developing innovative solutions to combat climate change, and expanding mitigation and adaptation ideas and solutions.

This edition witnessed the participation of 405 companies from 44 countries, of which 3 startups qualified for the final stage of the competition to participate in COP28. They are Powerstove from Nigeria, which specializes in renewable energy solutions in developing countries, and FreshSource from Egypt, which specializes in agricultural product supply chain solutions in the Middle East and North Africa region and promoting sustainable food systems, in addition to Kumulus from Tunisia, which specializes in solutions for providing clean drinking water using solar energy.

Initiative of the United Nations Joint Working Group on Technology and Innovation

The gradual shift towards a digital society is a prerequisite for achieving sustainable and comprehensive development in the twenty-first century. In this context, digitization and innovation are pivotal factors for achieving sustainable development goals in Egypt, through cooperation between the government and the United Nations, under the umbrella of the government’s action program and the UNSDCF 2023-2027.