Egypt has been accelerating its efforts to achieve digital transformation and become a hub for digital innovation, Helmut Von Struve, CEO Siemens Middle East said.
Von Struve told Daily News Egypt that this progress supports the country’s Vision 2030, which aims, among other things, to create a knowledge-based economy, spur innovation, ensure cybersecurity, and achieve sustainable development while improving the quality of life for Egyptians.
“As Egypt forges ahead with its digital transformation strategy, Siemens is providing the country with the latest technologies to develop new cities, smart factories and vital digital infrastructure. Siemens is also actively involved in helping Egypt’s industrial workers acquire new skills through training programmes about digitalization, automation solutions, and smart city technologies,” he added during the interview.
The interview touched on Siemens’ projects in Egypt, and the company’s five years strategy in the country. The interview tackles the outcomes of Von Struve’s recent visit to Egypt, and the impact of the pandemic on Siemens projects. It also discusses Egypt’s strategy in planning and developing several smart cities across the country and digital transformation strategy.
What is Siemens’ 5-year strategy in Egypt? What are company’s new projects in Egypt and Middle East?
Our core strategy is to transform the everyday by delivering advanced technologies that our customers need to build more efficient factories, smart cities and sustainable infrastructure for current and future generations. As you may know, Siemens has been active in Egypt since 1859, when our founder Werner von Siemens laid a communications cable through the Red Sea. Currently, we’re involved in several strategic projects with Egypt’s government and private sector.
Foremost among them is the New Administrative Capital, where we’re deploying our latest technologies and smart solutions.
We’re also working with Fiber Misr on the Control Center at Knowledge City and with our partner EMAS to deliver low-voltage control systems for the new capital’s Iconic Tower. In addition, Siemens is building the National Energy Control Center, with Hassam Allam; we expect to complete it in the coming months. And we recently delivered the command, control and communication systems for Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel 2, another milestone in our cooperation with the government.
As for the wider Middle East, we see many opportunities. Our latest flagship project outside Egypt is Expo 2020 Dubai, where Siemens is the Premier Partner for Infrastructure Digitalization. At Expo, we’ve co-created a blueprint for future smarter cities by digitally linking more than 130 buildings on a site that’s twice the size of Monaco. Expo will have a lasting legacy after the six-month event ends in March; 80% of the Expo site’s infrastructure will remain in place to form the nucleus of a planned sustainable district of Dubai known as District 2020.
Could you brief us on the latest updates on your projects in the New Administrative Capital?
In addition to the control centre, Siemens is contributing to the creation of Egypt’s Industry 4.0 Innovation Center (IIC) in the new capital’s Knowledge City, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies. The IIC aims to support the use of advanced technologies in local manufacturing and provide training in automation and digitisation to further develop Egypt’s industries.
What are Siemens’ contributions in the field of training to address the needs of Egypt’s industrial market? What are the most prominent fields of training?
Siemens is deeply involved in improving the skills and knowledge of Egypt’s industrial workforce. With training programmes focusing on digitalisation, automation, and smart city technologies, we support Egypt’s development plans and help to empower the next generation of Egyptian engineers.
For example, we recently signed a cooperation protocol with the Egyptian Engineers Syndicate to provide training to its members in fields ranging from smart electricity grids to artificial intelligence applications. Our objective is to stimulate industrial innovation across Egypt. We will deliver four training labs, not only to Cairo but to various parts of the country, to provide equal opportunities for knowledge transfer and learning in line with the Egyptian President’s Decent Life “Hayat Karema” initiative.
Siemens has already delivered several training labs that offer the required Industry 4.0 training to young engineers and students. These include labs at the Arab Organization for Industrialization, Cairo University, Ain Shams University, Alexandria University and Don Bosco Vocational Training Center.
What was the outcome of your recent visit to Egypt? Did you sign any new cooperation agreements with the public or private sectors?
I had very fruitful discussions with several senior business leaders and government officials. We discussed existing and potential opportunities for Siemens in Egypt. Siemens looks forward to building on our role as a key trusted partner for Egypt and to expanding our longstanding relationship, which is based on cooperation and mutual respect.
What is Siemens’ role in the Central Business District Iconic Tower project?
We are proud to take part in the Iconic Tower project in the New Administrative Capital’s central business district. Siemens will deploy its latest Low voltage control systems in cooperation with our local partner EMAS.
What is Siemens’ role in the New Capital’s Knowledge City?
Siemens signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab Organization for Industrialization and Fiber Misr Systems to implement the smart application system for managing and operating the Knowledge City. The agreement is part of our commitment to contribute to Egypt’s digitalisation plan to make cities smarter, safer and more efficient.
In a separate project for the Knowledge City, Siemens signed an MoU to establish and equip what will be the first Industry 4.0 Innovation Center in Egypt.
Can you talk to us about the National Energy Control Center that Siemens is implementing in coordination with Hassan Allam? When is it expected to be completed?
As part of our efforts to modernise Egypt’s electricity sector, Siemens and Hassan Allam signed a contract to build the new National Energy Control Center in the New Capital. The control centre will run on Siemens Spectrum Power 7, our flagship platform for transmission management in energy networks. It will deploy advanced software and equipment to monitor, manage and control extra-high voltage (220 kV and 500 kV) transmission networks and generating stations across Egypt.
This project supports the Ministry of Electricity’s vision of digitalising the power sector and transforming Egypt into an international energy hub. We’re on track to complete it in the agreed timeframe.
How do you see Egypt’s strategy in planning and developing several smart cities across the country?
I see a government that thinks deeply about the future and recognises that a digital transformation is imperative for building the cities of tomorrow – cities that are smart, efficient, sustainable and safe.
For its part, Siemens is working to provide digital technologies and develop the infrastructure of Egypt’s smart cities. We’re cooperating successfully with the government to do this, not only in the New Administrative Capital but also in New Alamein, New Mansoura, and other planned smart cities.
Will Siemens in Egypt become a digital solutions hub in the Middle East?
Siemens in Egypt is helping to drive the digital transformation throughout the Middle East by applying the latest technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution at local factories and providing training in automation and digitization techniques. We’re furnishing the support necessary to stimulate industrial innovation and create smart factories in a way that contributes to a transfer of knowledge and broader industrial development. All this will help make exports from the Middle East more competitive in global markets and lead in turn to higher living standards for the region.
How do you evaluate Egyptian-German relations?
It’s not my place to comment on political relations between Egypt and Germany. Siemens partners with both governments whenever feasible to contribute to the development of Egypt’s economy and the skills of its workforce. Siemens’ successful history in Egypt and the large number and diversity of our projects in this country attest to our collaborative approach with all relevant authorities.
How did the pandemic impact Siemens activities globally and in Egypt? How do you evaluate the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis?
Siemens has taken timely measures to protect its employees and its partners, and we will continue to do so rigorously. The pandemic hasn’t affected our performance as much as at many other companies. I attribute this to our employees, who have been simply outstanding in dealing responsibly with Covid-19, not only in terms of health and safety but also when it comes to supporting our customers. And we’ve been able to continue serving our customers and suppliers because our company’s digitalization push was already well advanced by the time the pandemic struck. Egypt has shown great resilience despite the challenges of the coronavirus. Most economic forecasts indicate that a global economic recovery is gaining pace, and we are optimistic about the future of the Egyptian economy.
What were the company’s revenues and net profit volume last year? And what is the expectation for this year?
In our 2020 fiscal year, Siemens posted annual revenue of €57 bn and annual net income of €4.2 bn euros. Our most recent financial results were for the 1April to 30June, quarter; Siemens generated €16.1 bn euros in quarterly revenue and € 1.5 bn in quarterly net income. We will release our annual results for fiscal year 2021 in November, and therefore can’t disclose any additional information at this time.