The MoU was signed by the Advisor to the ICT Minister for AI Golestan Radwan, and Thales CEO in Egypt Sherif Barakat.
Pursuant to the MoU, several joint projects will be carried out to augment the AI industry in Egypt, within the framework of the National AI Strategy. The two sides will cooperate to develop AI-powered applications in different areas, including smart cities, transportation, digital government and smart infrastructure.
The two sides will also collaborate to foster innovation, build local capacity and promote entrepreneurship in AI through supporting startups and organizing hackathons. This is in addition to conducting joint research on AI ethics, and working to establish a common stance for the two sides towards AI-related issues through organizing public awareness campaigns and programs to educate people on topics related to the opportunities and risks posed by AI and data privacy.
“Egypt is keen to use emerging technologies and introduce and develop the technology industry in Egypt. The cooperation furthers the efforts of building Digital Egypt, through which AI is leveraged for the benefit of Egyptians.”Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat
The cooperation reflects the strategic partnership between Egypt and France in AI. The MoU is the sixth in a row of MoUs signed with French partners in 18 months, Talaat said, adding that he looks forward for more cooperation in that field.
The areas of cooperation with Thales come within the framework of the four pillars of the National AI Strategy, the first of which is capacity building, as the two sides will cooperate to build the capacity of the different segments of society in AI.
This is in addition to two more pillars, namely AI for Government (AI4G) and AI for Development (AI4D). This is achieved through developing AI-powered applications in different fields, as well as working to establish a common stance for Egypt and France towards AI-related issues through conducting joint research on AI ethics.
There has been solid cooperation between Egypt and France in AI. Such cooperation was manifested in the last two years through signing several agreements of cooperation with French companies and organizing the French Egyptian Startup Competition.Egyptian Ambassador to France Alaa Youssef
Youssef commended Egypt’s efforts in developing its AI industry through building digital capabilities, creating an enabling environment and developing the infrastructure. He stressed the significance of cooperation between Egypt and France to transfer knowledge in this area, adding that the Egyptian Embassy in France is eager to support the efforts for strengthening the Egyptian-French ties in advanced technologies. The cooperation represents a model of partnership between the government and private sectors, the Egyptian Ambassador added.
The French Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet commended Egypt’s efforts in attaining the National AI Strategy.
“France attaches great importance to AI and looks forward to becoming Egypt’s strategic partner in implementing the latter’s vision and ambitious plans that aim to help Egypt become a leader in AI in the region. I am looking forward for more cooperation between the MCIT and Thales.”French Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet
For her part, Radwan stated that Thales is one of the major international companies that has a strong presence in Egypt, adding that Egypt will cooperate with Thales in AI to provide technological and sustainable solutions in the smart cities that the country is currently establishing. Cooperation involves different areas, including waste management, energy consumption improvement, transportation and traffic management, and preventive maintenance. The two sides will also cooperate in areas including capacity building, and Research and Development (R&D) in AI in Egypt.
“The new cooperation with MCIT is the first step in a long journey of productive cooperation that supports AI development objectives. Thales has further expanded its business in Egypt in several areas, including infrastructure security, railways and space, in addition to its long experience in AI, Machine Learning (ML) and capacity building.”Thales Senior Vice President, Middle East, Africa and India Jean-Marc Budin
For his part, Thales CEO in Egypt underscored that the MoU with MCIT represents a significant milestone for Thales. The cooperation places AI as a business priority given its important role in providing smart and safe solutions and services in the field of smart cities. Future cooperation will focus on providing innovative solutions in land transport and digital government. Barakat added that Thales vows to provide the best technologies and means to carry out joint projects.
It is worth noting that negotiations with Thales started during the ICT Minister’s visit to France in September 2019. The visit comprised several meetings with government officials and representatives of international ICT companies. The meetings discussed enhancing cooperation between the two countries in relevant fields, injecting new investments in the Egyptian ICT sector, and collaborating in capacity building and AI.