By Mohamed Alaa El Din
The government is relying on significantly activating the role of youth in the coming period and the provision of innovative and creative solutions for chronic problems facing the country, said Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby.
El-Araby said, during the Innovation in Government Conference, that the budget allocated for administrative reform increased more than ten-folds this year in comparison to last year. The minister asserted that there are many challenges facing the state’s administrative reform and they cannot be overcome without cooperation between the government, the private sector, and civil society organisations.
El-Araby added that the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt 2030 will be announced before the end of 2015. He revealed that that the governmental sector took serious steps to depend on effective technological methods, by launching the ‘Hokomti’ application in cooperation with Fawry. Moreover, it will launch the Baladi project during the CAIRO ICT 2015 conference to be held in next December in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications. The project aims to provide web portals and mobile applications, including on the archaeological areas in Egypt.
The minister said that an increase in the production of national goods will supports Egypt’s plan to achieve sustainable development. This is also through increasing the investment rate in comparison to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 15% to 30%.
On his part, General Manager of T20 Group Ali Wali said that developed countries were able to achieve development by increasing revenues and increasing spending on education, health, and all aspects of development and progress. He added that Egypt’s governmental revenues amounted to about $65bn, while this number is three-folds in Turkey, five-folds in Korea, and is double in other countries. He added that Egypt has enormous manpower amounting to 6.4 million government employees.
Founder and CEO of Fawry electronic payments, Ashraf Sabry, said that problems cannot just be solved, but require innovative and creative solutions, as well as effective communication between all parties.
He said that countries such as Nigeria and India do not possess the IT infrastructure that Egypt owns, such as the digital identity and many of the electronic services that the Egyptian government provides. He added that it means that Egypt has a development infrastructure that many countries do not have, thus the government should consider the current capacity and work on its exploitation and development.
Sabry noted that there are about 13m debit cards in Egypt, and some 10m accounts at the Egyptian post office. This, he said, should force people to become more optimistic, citing the Fawry experience that is only five years. Yet it provides many governmental services in cooperation with more than seven government agencies such as Ministries of Interior, Electricity, Housing, Communications, Planning, and Administrative Reform. He noted that Fawry provides its services in over 50,000 locations all over Egypt.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Microsoft Middle East & Africa President Ali Faramawy said that Egypt is ranked 100 on the innovation index, and countries with smaller economies are ranking higher than Egypt on the index, such as Mali and Malawi. This means the government should focus more on developing leaders in government entities and building human capacity as well as improving the infrastructure, he added.
Faramawy specified three main aspects for the government to consider. These aspects include developing the country’s infrastructure, providing an encouraging investment climate, transparency, government electronic services, and allowing entities to have executive capacity.
He said that Egypt has many innovative minds upon which administrative reform can rely. He mentioned that most projects implemented in the UAE were carried out by Egyptian companies, or in cooperation with them.