The US has its famous Silicon Valley where most of the tech firms were founded and built up from scratch. It’s from here that Kenya’s moniker ‘Silicon Savannah’ was derived from. And perhaps taking a cue from this, Egypt has now joined the fray, launching its ‘Silicon Waha’, the new initiative aimed to establish and operate Science and Technology Parks throughout the country.
The initiative was, according to a media release, unveiled yesterday at the second day of eLearning Africa during which Yasser Elkady, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and IT announced the formal launch of ‘Silicon Waha’.
(TOP: The Smart Village in 6th October City, Egypt. Photo courtesy: Wikimapia).
“Silicon Waha” is the product of a partnership between Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), MCIT and the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Construction. Through this partnership, Silicon Waha seeks to stimulate the planning, design, implementation and creation of buildings and ICT Tech Parks throughout Egypt. To this end, Silicon Waha will offer logistical support services and initiate technology and infrastructure projects required for the development of these areas.
The company provides the requisite experience and environment to serve the ICT industry in Egypt through integrated services for entrepreneurs, start-ups as well as local and international companies of all sizes. The business model includes the design and assembly of electronics and promotes commercial, research, regional, international and educational relations with NGOs, universities, research centres and tech industrial companies through Innovation Clusters.
The company will draw on Egypt’s competitive advantages in terms of its location, multilingualism, skilled workforce and abundant talent pool in order to attract local, regional and global investment in the areas around these technology parks, help local ICT companies to access foreign markets and encourage them to export their products and services.
Asmaa Hosni, CEO of ITIDA, stated during the announcement: “The objective of the tech parks is to limit domestic migration by offering direct and indirect jobs to the young Egyptian across different fields. They aim to contribute to the development of disadvantaged and marginalised areas by providing electronic services to Egyptian citizens. Silicon Waha will use the technology parks to develop the skills of the country’s university graduates and those who work in the governorates, as well as to motivate them to join call centres, technical support centres and electronic design and manufacture companies.” She also confirmed that the new parks will provide competitive operating costs for the investor and a work environment conducive to investment in the governorates.
The company’s Board of Directors incorporates representatives from MCIT, ITIDA and NUCA. Under their auspices, six technology parks in the cities of Burj Al Arab, MadinatAl-Sadat, Tenth of Ramadan, New BeniSuef, New Assiut and New Aswan will be constructed in the coming months.The company has already begun work on the initial phases of the project and is working to ensure that 11 buildings in the Burj Al Arab and New Assiut governorates are constructed by the end of the year.
The Economic Ministerial Committee, headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, agreed in February to the establishment of “Silicon Waha” within the framework of the national technology parksproject of. The project had been launched by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologyat the “Cairo ICT” exhibition and conference late last year in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
At eLearning Africa, Mr. Ahmad Sobki, Vice President of ITIDA, chaired a session under the title “Egypt shares best practices and projects”. The session showcased Egypt’s experience of utilising ICT tools to enhance the education system.