Egypt’s ICT minister inaugurates e-Learning Africa 2016

Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser El-Kady has opened Tuesday the 11th edition of eLearning Africa 2016, under the theme “Making Vision Reality”.
Running from 24 and 26 May, Egypt is hosting the event, represented by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), the IT arm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. 

The conference is considered the largest and most important networking event that aims to promote development, enhance education and raise training levels in the ICT field at the level of the region and the continent of Africa.

A host of officials, decision-makers, experts in the fields of education, government entities and multinationals in the field of education and training technology and consulting, as well as investors, donors, academic institutions and universities have participated in the Conference where all key issues revolving around the availability of technology, policy of openness, development of skills, pedagogy, sustainable development and best practices in this area were addresses.

The opening session entails El-Kady’s speech in which he welcomed the guests of Egypt and the conference. He underlined the significance of ICTs as one of the effective tools in the educational process at all stages, due to its ability to meet the challenges and provide appropriate solutions for all the problems. In addition, it represents the cornerstone in the process of progress and development that people aspire in their lives, striving to realize the concept of the information society, which eliminates bureaucracy in all its forms and achieves growth and social justice.

The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim has delivered the main speech. The President and CEO of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in South Africa Thierry Zomahoun has delivered another speech, talking about the role of education and technology to transform Africa into a global science center. Gunter Nuuk, the Deputy of the Chancellor for African Affairs Angela Merkel at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has also discussed accelerating the digital transformation in Africa and the skills revolution.

The ICT Minister and the Minister of Education El-Hilali El-Sherbini headed the Ninth Ministerial Round Table (MRT) on ICTs for development, education and training, in the presence of a host of African Ministers of: Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon, Tugun and Zimbabwe and a number of participants including Gunter Nuuk, a number of businessmen, academics and analysts.

During the meeting, El-Kady highlighted the need to find mechanisms to implement solutions related to ICTs, education and training issues, within the AU vision priorities of “Africa 2063” for a “Developed Continent.”

He referred to the challenge of how various African countries can share the infrastructure and expertise necessary to create a “multiplier effect” in the vital sectors of economic development in the future, such as education, as one of the main topics tackled within the roundtable agenda. The ICT Minister added that Africa’s agenda 2063 is a clear evidence of the promising continent interest in and awareness of Education, including e-learning as a starting point for social and economic development.

The element linking between the objectives of this ambitious plan lies in developing the African human resource through education and training in all its forms and aspects, including science, technology and innovation. No development without innovation, no innovation without access to knowledge and no access to knowledge without ICT infrastructure development and connectivity between nations and African peoples and the whole world. This is exactly the objective of this gathering, which aims to discuss means to develop education through ICT tools.

He added that human resources are one of the key resources owned by the African countries and that all must work on their development and the enhancement of their capabilities, especially young people, being the basic structure of our countries and the cornerstone of our societies development. Africa enjoys more than 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24, a matter which urges decision-makers to set policies and programs that optimize the benefit of this significant human resource. The countries took the necessary steps to encourage youth to participate in the management of the country, and encourage their spirit of creativity and innovation that benefits the society.

According to this framework, 2016 was called the “year of youth” where policies top priorities are helping youth, providing training courses that develop their abilities in various fields, especially in ICTs and overcoming all the obstacles that would prevent them from participating in economic and community development process, thus qualify them to enter the labor market, gain experience and build capacities that prepare them to compete with their peers in other continents.

The ICT Minister toured the exhibition, held on the sidelines of the conference. The exhibition demonstrated products, services and projects offered by 40 companies participating in the exhibition from more than 19 countries, along with six Egyptian companies specializing in education and training solutions and technology under the umbrella of the Egyptian pavilion including Bibliotheca Alexandria (BA) and the Information Technology Institute (ITI).

During the inspection tour, El-Kady got acquainted with ICT companies solutions in the fields of education and training, including open educational resources for entrepreneurs, e-learning systems, training systems and consulting, human resource management systems, research and e-learning, administrative competencies management systems, integration systems, program designing and multimedia, etc.

At the opening session of the meeting, under the title “Making Vision Reality”,” ITIDA CEO Asmaa Hosni, who ran this session, highlighted Africa’s growing economy and AU vision for the next fifty years, and how education and technology can contribute in changing the continent and its prosperity, accelerating its technology progress to achieve this vision.

Hosni has also participated in the session entitled “Cooperation for Innovation and Investment,” during which discussions were held on investment in the field of technological innovation and entrepreneurship and Egypt’s efforts to create clusters of innovation in the various governorates, based on cooperation between international companies, technological incubators, training centers and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the ICT field, targeting establishing four clusters of innovation with a value of eleven million Egyptian pounds, to create more job opportunities for young people nationwide.