Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, met with a group of freelancers who are joining the local and global freelance market via the Internet. This was during the activities of the Independent Professionals Forum organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology at the Digital Egypt Creativity Center – Giza.
The meeting came in light of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MCIT) keenness on opening the door for a constructive dialogue with the freelancers community with the aim of developing the independent professionals sector, enabling them to achieve professional success, and compete in the freelance labor markets via the Internet.
In his speech during the meeting, Talaat explained that MCIT developed a strategy five years ago to expand training grants and the number of trainees from 4,000 to 225,000 trainees.
He stressed that the Ministry’s strategy for technical training aims to find job opportunities for trainees and also generate jobs for young people outside Egypt to work from their homes. He also stressed that these initiatives resulted in an improvement in Egypt’s ranking by two places within two years in the classification of the number of independent professionals in relation to the population, to become the fourth in the world, up from the sixth position to the 14th position.
Talaat added that the ministry plans to integrate self-employment skills into all training courses offered by the ministry, referring to the “Our Future is Digital” initiative launched by the Ministry to empower youth in the self-employment market. He noted that the number of specializations has been increased by the initiative from three to 11 specializations, and the self-employment courses will be expanded on the “Maharah Tech” platform, as two training tracks will soon be launched, one for cybersecurity, and the other for artificial intelligence and data analysis.
He pointed out that the minimum paid-up capital for a one-person company has been reduced to EGP 1,000 instead of EGP 50,000. The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is currently working with the Investment Authority to simplify the procedures for establishing one-person companies so that the establishment takes place remotely through electronic signature, in addition to facilitating the establishment of virtual companies without a headquarters.
He explained that meeting rooms and workspaces are allocated for independent professionals within Egypt’s Digital Creativity Centers “Creativa”.
Talaat also pointed out that 47% of the workforce at the global level works in self-employment jobs such as independent professionals, and that there are about a billion and a half working in this field. Talaat pointed out that 30% of the labor force in Egypt is self-employed; He added that the average income of independent professionals in Egypt is about $5,600 annually, while the global average is $6,000 annually.
The activities of the forum witnessed a discussion that included a group of independent professionals who have achieved outstanding successes in the field of self-employment. During the session, they reviewed their practical experience and expertise, the most important challenges they faced, and the most prominent achievements they have achieved in the field of self-employment.
An open dialogue took place between Talaat and the attendees on a number of issues related to the field of self-employment. Participants in the forum of independent professionals explained a number of challenges they are dealing with, especially those related to bank accounts of independent professionals, as well as financial transfers from abroad for the proceeds of their work, and matters related to tax collection, in addition to the inability to register self-employment as a job in the national ID.
In this context, Talaat confirmed that work is under way to launch a platform for independent professionals that includes a set of services that help them compete more effectively and acquire new skills, in addition to providing solutions to the challenges they face. The possibility of issuing an identity card to the independent professionals registered on this platform is also being considered to facilitate their dealings with banking agencies. Communication will be made later with the Civil Status Authority in order to register this form of work in the personal card. He explained that the platform will also provide legal advisory services as well as tax accounting.
He pointed out that all training initiatives offered by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, as well as all services provided by the Digital Egypt Innovation Centers, are provided to young people free of charge. In addition, Egypt’s Digital Creativity Centers will be established in all governorates, increasing their number to 30. These centers provide an opportunity for independent professionals to share ideas and exchange experiences with each other.
Regarding improving internet services, Talaat said that a project is currently implemented to raise the efficiency of the Internet throughout all of Egypt. He pointed out that a project is being implemented to install optical fiber cables in the villages of Haya Karima to provide proper internet services in these villages.
The youth participating in the activities of the forum praised the vision of MCIT to address the challenges facing independent professionals, as well as the initiatives it offers to hone their skills. They called for holding networking events with international companies and marketing the skills of Egyptian freelancers.