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Government agencies pursuing high speed, cost-effective internet: Communication Minister

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Egypt working towards increasing internet penetration especially in rural and marginalised areas and among persons with disabilities

The Youth Employment Generation Programme in Egypt, during receiving the WSIS project prize on Tuesday, along with Minister of Communication Atef Helmy. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Communication)

The Youth Employment Generation Programme in Egypt, during receiving the WSIS project prize on Tuesday, along with Minister of Communication Atef Helmy.
(Photo courtesy of Ministry of Communication)

Egypt will adopt measures to enable government agencies to access and interact cost-effectively with information at high speed, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Atef Helmy said Tuesday.

Helmy made the statement during his opening speech at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) forum taking place in Geneva, Switzerland from 10 to 13 June.

The minister explained that Egypt is working on increasing the internet penetration especially in rural and marginalised areas and among persons with disabilities.

Figures released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) have shown that internet penetration in Egypt has increased in 2013 by 15.2%. The number of internet users in the country reached 35.95 million users in June 2013 compared to 31.21 million in June 2012, CAPMAS said.

Helmy stressed that the priority of the communication sector until 2020 is to support young people in fields of technological innovation and entrepreneurship through creating the “appropriate climate”.

During the conference, the Youth Employment Generation Programme in Egypt won the WSIS project prize on Tuesday for achieving WSIS goals.

The award-winner programme addresses the gap between the job market demand and youth skills through providing them IT and soft skills to increase their employment prospects.

The programme benefits more than 2000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), 137 social entrepreneurs and more than 480 fresh graduates across Egypt. It is funded by the Japanese government and founded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Egypt in cooperation with the ministry.

“UNDP is proud to partner with MCIT and the award is testimony to the innovative work and effective contribution of the project in supporting a key development challenge in Egypt, addressing the issue of youth unemployment through information technologies”, said Anita Nirody, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt, according to the ministerial statement.

The WSIS is a UN-sponsored annual conference that brings together information and technology decision makers and experts, aiming to narrow the digital gap between rich and poor countries by spreading access to the internet in developing countries.

The first WSIS conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003, where 175 countries gathered to discuss a road map for achieving “an information society accessible to all”. The attendees agreed to set the target of having 50% of world’s population online by 2015.


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