Digital technology gives the world’s countries a unique opportunity to accelerate socio-economic development and build a better future, as digital innovations bring about transformations in almost all sectors of the economy by introducing new business models, new products, new services, and new ways of creating value and job opportunities.
The results of this transformation are already beginning to emerge as the global digital economy is worth $11.5 trillion, or 15.5% of global GDP.
The research paper aims to identify the importance of digital innovations and artificial intelligence, presenting indicators of artificial intelligence in Egypt, in addition to addressing the national strategy for artificial intelligence in Egypt, and finally presenting a set of proposals to enhance Egyptian efforts in the field of artificial intelligence and digital innovations.
The most important results of the study were as follows:
1-Egypt ranked second in Africa, after Mauritius, according to the report on the readiness of world governments to implement artificial intelligence technology for the year 2022, as it ranked 56th with 49.2 points Comparing the report for 2019, it was eighth in Africa, and 111th out of 194 countries.
2-the Human Development Report for Egypt 2021 revealed its progress by 55 places in the “Government Readiness for Artificial Intelligence” index.
3-According to the World Knowledge Index, Egypt advanced from 72nd out of 138 countries in 2020 to 53rd out of 154 countries in 2021.
4-The national strategy for artificial intelligence in Egypt is based on 3 main axes, with education and training, then making practical use of the volume of dense data in Egypt and making that data available to the private sector.
5- The role of artificial intelligence in digital transformation emerges as a catalyst for solving environmental problems and transitioning to a green environment. The latest artificial intelligence technologies are also used to build smart cities and transform existing cities into smart ones in accordance with international standards.
First: the importance of digital innovations and artificial intelligence
Technology has a profound impact on the way governments operate and interact with their citizens, as it opens the door to increased transparency and efficiency in service delivery. This continuous wave of innovations is capable of removing any barriers between people and opportunities, especially the poorest and most suffering groups.
Individuals have access Through digital platforms to an unprecedented amount of information, online jobs, e-courses and even life-saving care via telemedicine. Mobile financial services also provide an easy and secure alternative to the traditional banking system, giving a major boost to the mainstreaming of financial services across many developing countries. Digital identification systems have allowed millions of marginalized people to prove their identity, exercise their rights and benefit from essential services such as health or education.
Artificial intelligence is defined as the science and engineering of making machines, and the intelligence shown by machines and programs that simulate human mental capabilities and modes of work, such as the ability to learn, infer, and react to situations programmed into the machine. It is also concerned with how to make computers and programs capable of taking intelligent behavior.
The world’s leading technology companies are racing to develop smart robots for different uses or to develop spectacular technologies that mimic humans, many of which have been exhibited at international exhibitions such as GITEX, the World Conference on Smartphones and others.
Digital innovations have far-reaching cross-cutting benefits. In developed and developing countries, technology quickly triggers innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing a wide range of sectors from health and education to transport, disaster risk management or agriculture. However, not everyone has benefited to the same extent, and while the digital revolution is a global phenomenon, there are still huge disparities between and within countries in terms of penetration, affordability, and performance of digital services. While more than half of the world’s population currently has access to the Internet, the penetration rate does not exceed 15% in the least developed countries, or 1 in 7 individuals Due to the high prices of Internet services through mobile phones or fixed broadband lines, which are very expensive in many countries, where the lack of digital infrastructure and regulatory obstacles constitute an obstacle to the development of broadband communication services, and the cost of mobile broadband services is approximately 17% of the average share monthly per capita of the gross national income in the least developed countries, compared to the global rate that does not exceed 5%.
The speed of broadband services also varies, with fixed broadband speeds of 10 Mbps or more being common in developed countries; while the proportion of fixed broadband services with a speed of up to 10 megabytes per second in the least developed countries does not exceed 7%.
In a world driven by ICTs, this persistent digital divide will exacerbate inequalities and create a new class of “digital poverty”. To avoid this scenario, the Egyptian government is seeking to strengthen its efforts to ensure universal access to broadband services, and to give people the skills and resources they need to participate fully in the digital economy.
Second: indicators of artificial intelligence in Egypt
America ranked first during the current year 2022 in the report on the readiness of world governments to implement AI technology, with a score of 85.5 out of 100 points, followed by Britain with 81.1 points, then Finland with 79.2 points.
According to the report issued by the Oxford Insights Foundation and the International Development Research Center, which included about 172 countries, Germany came in fourth place with 78.9 points, followed by Sweden fifth with 78.8 points, while Singapore ranked sixth with 78.7 points, and Korea came in seventh place. With 77.7 points.
A methodology was also applied to measure the readiness of governments to use artificial intelligence technologies based on three main axes and 33 indicators, including the existence of a national strategy for artificial intelligence, data protection and privacy laws, the use of information and communication technology and digital services, the development of communications infrastructure, the availability of digital skills, and the culture of Entrepreneurship, and the ranking is based on a total of 100 points.
Denmark ranked eighth with 75.6 points, followed by Norway and the Netherlands in the ninth and tenth places with 75.3 and 74.4 degrees, respectively. France came in 11th place with 73.8 points, then Australia with 73.6 points, followed by Japan in 13th place with 73.3 points, followed by Canada in 14th place with 73.2 points, then Luxembourg with 72.6 points.
The UAE ranked 16th as the first Arab country in the ranking, scoring 72.4 points, compared to 69.9 points for Estonia and 69.2 points for Switzerland, followed by China in 19th place with 69.1 points, and Israel ranked 20th with 68.8 points. Ireland ranked 21st with 68.2 points, followed by Austria with 68.2 points, New Zealand came in 23rd place with 68.1 points, followed by Spain in 24th place with 68.04 points. Italy ranked 25th with 65.4 points, then Lithuania ranked 26th with 65.02 points, followed by Portugal in 27th place with 63.9 points, followed by Malaysia, Belgium and Malta in positions 28, 29 and 30 with 63.7, 63.1 and 62.4 points respectively.
At the level of the Middle East region, Qatar ranked second in the Arab world and 37th globally on the index with 56.8 points, followed by Saudi Arabia in 38th place with 56.2 points, Bahrain in 43rd place with 54.7 points, and Oman in 48th place with 52.1 points. Egypt ranked second in Africa after Mauritius and South Africa ranked third. Mauritius appeared as the first country to represent the African continent in the ranking, as it ranked 45th in the world with 53.9 points, followed by Egypt in 56th place with 49.2 points, followed by South Africa in 59th place. With 48.3 points, Yemen came at the bottom of the ranking, as it ranked 172 on the index with 19.1 points.
In comparison to the 2019 report, Egypt ranked eighth in Africa in the field of artificial intelligence, and ranked 111 out of 194 countries, meaning that Egypt advanced 55 places on the index. The reason for the improvement in Egypt’s ranking is due to the efforts made by the government to achieve this achievement, including the expansion of adopting modern technologies to provide Egypt’s digital services; And the implementation of a huge project to develop the communications infrastructure with investments amounting to about $1.6 billion.
There are a number of emerging Egyptian or Egyptian-owned artificial intelligence companies among the most developed in the world. There is the video analysis company Avidbeam, which was ranked among the top 20 developers of artificial intelligence globally, and attracted seed investments from Egypt Ventures companies, and there is “Effectiva” which trains robots to read Emotions, and it was included in the Forbes list of the 10 most important technological innovations in the field of artificial intelligence. There is the D company, which was established in Egypt and has another branch in Bonn, Germany, and works to provide technical and digital services to companies, and there is also Innovation Hub, which provides services to students in Egypt, Tunisia and Britain.
Figure No. (1) The 10 largest emerging companies in the field of artificial intelligence
The adoption of artificial intelligence applications appears to be among the government’s priorities, with expectations of a growth in the deployment of artificial intelligence applications in Egypt at a rate of 25.5% annually from now until 2030, and with the implementation of the national strategy for artificial intelligence within three to five years.
But this will not be achieved without an environment that enables strong innovation. The report recommends developing clear policies on the use and availability of data, opening more technology centers to stimulate scientific research and development in the field of artificial intelligence, and working closely with small and medium-sized companies, open source developers, and educational institutions to help them integrate artificial intelligence in various fields.
Figure No. (2) International companies with artificial intelligence patents
The Human Development Report for 2021 revealed that Egypt advanced 47 places in the budget transparency index, from 110th place in 2018 to 63rd place in 2019, as well as 55 places in the “Government Readiness for Artificial Intelligence” index, which measures the government’s willingness to use artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence techniques in providing public services to its citizens.
Egypt advanced from the 72nd position out of 138 countries in 2020 to the 53rd position out of 154 countries in 2021, according to the Global Knowledge Index report issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which includes various other indicators such as education, innovation and the environment.
Third: The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in Egypt
Artificial intelligence is considered an icon that has brought about a real leap and a scientific breakthrough in many developed countries. Perhaps this is what prompted Egypt to adopt it in the context of moving towards a better future, by developing and exploiting technology to provide the best service for the advancement of the state and society together.
The national strategy for artificial intelligence in Egypt is based on 3 main axes, with education and training, then making practical use of the volume of dense data in Egypt and making that data available to the private sector, each in its location, to benefit from it according to its importance for each separate sector. The strategy includes plans to make Egypt a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence, in addition to developing an integrated system that employs artificial intelligence in the vital areas of the country.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is cooperating within the framework of the national strategy for artificial intelligence with major international specialized companies in order to implement projects in applied research using artificial intelligence technologies in the various sectors of the country, while transferring knowledge to Egyptian youth.
The state’s interest, represented by the government, in digital transformation comes in many decisions and executive images, the latest of which is the implementation of the decision to deal in all government agencies through electronic payment, so that the state will complete its path towards the advancement of services provided to citizens by working on the national strategy for artificial intelligence to employ it in the vital areas of the country.
The strategy works to accelerate the implementation of development programs and projects to reach the future, relying on artificial intelligence in services and data analysis at a rate that may reach 100%, in addition to improving government performance, accelerating achievement, creating an innovative work environment, creating a new promising market in the region with high economic value, and supporting private sector initiatives and increase productivity.
For example, the strategy aims in the transport sector to reduce accidents and operational costs, in the health sector to reduce the percentage of chronic and serious diseases, and in the space sector to conduct accurate experiments and reduce the rates of costly errors, in addition to the renewable energy sector through facilities management and smart consumption.
This is within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030, which seeks to make the Egyptian economy a disciplined market economy characterized by stable macroeconomic conditions, capable of achieving sustainable inclusive growth, and characterized by competitiveness, diversity, and knowledge-based.
Economic development is one of the most important axes of the economic dimension in the sustainable development plan, Egypt’s Vision 2030, along with the axes of energy, transparency and the efficiency of government institutions.
The first axis “economic development” includes 7 goals, the foremost of which is the stability of macroeconomic conditions. The goal includes reducing the public debt-to-GDP ratio, reducing the overall deficit-to-GDP ratio, and maintaining the stability of the price level.
The second objective is to increase competitiveness, diversity and reliance on knowledge, which includes increasing the degree of international competitiveness of the Egyptian economy and raising the contribution of services to the gross domestic product, especially productive services, which include, for example: maintenance services for devices and equipment, design and communications, shipping and transportation. In addition to the third objective “Maximizing added value”, which includes increasing the local component in the industrial content and reducing the trade balance deficit.
As for the fourth goal, it includes increasing the contribution of the Egyptian economy to the global economy, so that Egypt becomes one of the 30 largest countries in the field of global markets, and among the top 10 countries in the field of economic reforms, and among the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development within ten years and among the newly industrialized countries within 5 years.
The fifth objective includes reducing the unemployment rate and doubling productivity rates, and the sixth objective specifies that the real per capita GDP reach the ranks of high-middle-income countries through improving the standard of living of citizens. As for the seventh goal, it includes working to integrate the informal sector into the economy and reduce the volume of informal transactions, through developing mechanisms for integrating this sector, providing incentives, and eliminating obstacles.
Fourth: Ways to enhance Egyptian efforts in the field of artificial intelligence and digital innovations
Egypt witnessed accelerated steps for advancement, development and modernization at all levels and in every inch of its parts, such as the road network that it established to raise the efficiency of transport and communication, which will have great economic effects on trade, industry and population movement within the country. In an important step for the advancement of the country and catching up with developed countries, the capital was established. The administrative capital to be the first smart capital in the world to modernize work in government agencies and departments that will move to the administrative capital, to move to the era of digital transformation, financial inclusion, electronic payment and artificial intelligence.
Digital transformation will reduce corruption and bribery, automating state agencies and linking them electronically will lead to facilitating transaction procedures and speedy issuance of judgments in litigation cases to achieve justice, all of which are motivating factors to attract investment. Also, digital transformation will contribute to limiting control over state property and redirecting its use to serve the transformation of digital life.
The role of artificial intelligence in digital transformation also emerges as a catalyst, for example, for solving environmental problems and the transition to a clean environment (Green). The latest artificial intelligence technologies are also used to build smart cities and transform existing cities into smart ones in accordance with international standards.
It may be appropriate to have a specialized ministry for digital transformation and artificial intelligence that is responsible for coordination between the various ministries and agencies, and for implementing national projects for digital transformation and artificial intelligence, so that efforts to accelerate the implementation of projects and plans that the state seeks to speed up their implementation, and catch up with other countries, unite. Which preceded us in this field, for example, Rwanda launched a satellite that provides free internet to its citizens. The establishment of a ministry of digital transformation and artificial intelligence has become an important matter to lead the digital transformation locomotive.