Ministers of International Cooperation, Transport, and Local Development, and the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Open Second Workshop Between the Government and the Joint UN Working Group on Technology and Innovation

Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation: We build on what was achieved in the first workshop to enhance innovative solutions and ideas for technology-based projects between the government, UN agencies, and the private sector.
The second workshop focuses on climate action and the promotion of digital ecosystems through the components of the “NWFE” program.

Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Engineer Kamel Al-Wezir, Minister of Transportation and Communications, Major General Hesham Amna, Minister of Local Development, and Ms. Ilina Ivanova Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, inaugurated the second workshop between the government and the United Nations to crystallize ideas on technology and innovation, which is held over two days, with the participation of Dr. Ghada Labib, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Adel Darwish, Director of the Regional Office of the International Telecommunication Union for Arab States, Mr. Patrick Jean Gilbert, Representative of the Regional Office of the International Labor Organization in Egypt, Ms. Dina Saleh, Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Europe of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and others from representatives of the government, the United Nations, the private sector, and academic institutions.

The second workshop focuses on climate action and the promotion of digital ecosystems through the components of the “NWFE” program. This will help to drive innovation, partnership between the public and private sectors, capacity building, and interaction between relevant entities to enhance project ideas and solutions based on innovation to promote sustainable development. This is based on the success of the first workshop, which resulted in the proposal of several projects in various development fields.

Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, emphasized that the second workshop between the government and the UN Joint Working Group on Technology and Innovation marks a continuation of the collaborative efforts initiated during the first workshop in 2022. This workshop seeks to foster innovative and unconventional project ideas, establish robust partnerships among national entities, UN agencies operating in Egypt, and the private sector within the realm of technology and innovation. Additionally, it aims to facilitate the exchange of best practices and international trade knowledge across various sectors.

The Minister of International Cooperation explained that the The first workshop on technology and innovation between the Egyptian government and the UN Joint Working Group yielded four promising project proposals. These proposals focus on crucial areas such as fostering rural tourism, developing a unified transportation card and implementing smart transportation solutions for passengers in Greater Cairo, digitizing Egypt’s rich heritage, and establishing an integrated coordination platform for local development to optimize resource utilization. These proposals were meticulously crafted through collaboration between relevant national entities and UN agencies.

The Minister of International Cooperation highlighted the significance of the second workshop, emphasizing that it builds upon the fruitful outcomes of the first workshop and aligns with the Egyptian government’s commitment to the Strategic Framework for Partnership with the United Nations for Sustainable Development 2023-2027. This framework serves as the bedrock of Egypt-UN collaboration in advancing technology-driven solutions for sustainable development.

The Minister of International Cooperation also noted that the second workshop will focus on the “NWFE” program platform, which works to mobilize climate finance and investments to support the green transition in Egypt and accelerate the implementation of the National Climate Change Strategy 2050. She stressed that this cooperation with the United Nations reflects the government’s commitment to research and development as effective tools for keeping pace with the era of rapid technological development. She pointed to the significant progress made by Egypt over the past decade in its indicators on the Global Innovation Index published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where Egypt advanced from 108th place globally in 2013 to 86th place globally among 132 countries.

In alignment with its unwavering dedication to fostering innovation and promoting private sector engagement in development endeavors, the Ministry of International Cooperation is actively collaborating with development partners to achieve these objectives. The Ministry is also diligently monitoring the outcomes of joint workshops with the aim of cultivating innovative partnerships and expanding investments in technology and innovation projects.

Minister of Transport and Communications Eng. Kamel Al-Wazir said that the Ministry of Transport is currently implementing a comprehensive plan to develop and modernize the elements of the transportation system, including its vehicles and networks (roads and bridges, railways, subways and electric trains, seaports, land and dry ports, logistics zones, and river transport) during the period from 2014 to 2024, with investments of 2 trillion Egyptian pounds. This plan emphasizes the utilization of transportation technology to bolster the effectiveness of management and operating systems, ultimately resulting in enhanced transportation services for citizens.

Major Gen. Hesham Amna referred to the interest of the Ministry of Local Development in using technology and promoting innovation. In recent years, the ministry has launched the “Ayady Misr” platform with technical support from the World Food Programme to provide support for locally produced products in electronic marketing of handicrafts and handmade products that are distinguished by Egyptian villages and training producers on handicraft production.

In an effort to enhance citizen engagement and improve local governance, the Egyptian Ministry of Local Development launched the “Your Voice Is Heard” initiative in October 2018. This initiative utilizes Facebook, WhatsApp, and a hotline number to provide citizens with a convenient platform to voice their concerns and grievances regarding local government services. The ministry actively monitors these channels, promptly addresses complaints, and collaborates with relevant authorities to resolve issues effectively. Additionally, the Ministry of Local Development has implemented an electronic system linking technological centers across districts and centers, streamlining the provision and tracking of essential citizen services, such as issuing licenses and permits. This initiative demonstrates the ministry’s commitment to fostering citizen participation and enhancing the quality of life for Egyptians.

The Egyptian Ministry of Local Development is developing an electronic platform to streamline and enhance development efforts across the governorates. This platform will serve as a central hub for collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders, including sectoral ministries, governorates, international organizations, and international development agencies. By consolidating information and facilitating communication, the platform will help identify development gaps and direct resources towards underserved areas. This approach has already proven successful in the Upper Egypt Development Project, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Local Development, the Ministry of International Cooperation, and the World Bank. This project has significantly improved the quality of services provided to citizens in Upper Egyptian governorates.

Elena Panova, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Office in Egypt, said that technology plays a vital role in shaping our global system. It provides unprecedented opportunities to correct the course of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and meet our climate ambitions. She added: “Digital technologies, if applied in the sectors that cause the most emissions, namely energy, materials, and transport, have the potential to reduce global emissions by 20% by 2050.

Dr. Ghada Labib, Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, underscored the critical role of innovation and digital transformation in propelling Egypt’s Digital Strategy and Vision for Sustainable Development. To foster the adoption of emerging information and communications technologies (ICTs) for addressing national challenges and devising solutions, the Applied Innovation Center was established. Additionally, the Center is dedicated to nurturing human capital and cultivating an environment conducive to the establishment and success of innovative institutions.
Since its inception in 2020, the Applied Innovation Center has forged successful partnerships with a cadre of leading research institutions to implement projects utilizing cutting-edge technologies in diverse domains, including agriculture, healthcare, and natural language processing.

Dr. Ghada Labib, Egypt’s Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, explained that the Egyptian government is committed to using technology to preserve and protect its cultural heritage. In this regard, the government has launched a project to create a digital platform for Egypt’s heritage. This platform will make cultural products available to everyone, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status. The platform is also intended to promote cultural equity and inclusion.
In addition, the government is working with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to use digital technologies to improve the tourism sector. This collaboration includes using the latest technologies to develop and promote tourism services, as well as to provide digital tools that will facilitate communication between tourists and tourist attractions in Egypt.

The Ministry of International Cooperation held a meeting to discuss a proposal to create a platform to promote rural tourism in Egypt. The meeting was held at the ministry’s headquarters in the New Administrative Capital, and was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of Local Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, and tourism entrepreneurs. The project is a result of the first workshop held last year.

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