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Industry leaders and political figures discuss ICT as being the heart of a ‘Smart City’ at Telecom Review Summit

Industry leaders in telecommunications, key decision makers and political figures gathered at the 7th annual Telecom Review Summit to discuss ICT as being the heart of a ‘Smart City’. Esteemed guests included His Excellency Mr. Yasser El Kady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Arab Republic of Egypt, who delivered an inspiring keynote speech.

In his opening speech, Mr. Toni Eid, CEO of Trace Media International and editor in chief of Telecom Review, expressed his gratitude to the esteemed guests for gathering at the Summit: “I’d like to extend to you all a warm welcome to Dubai, the most dynamic city in the world, which also promises to be the happiest,” he said. “We are gathered here today at the 7th Telecom Review Summit as we believe there is no smart city without smart technology – which is well served by smart telcos and regulated by the best government practices.”

Mr. Eid noted that smart technology was on top of the agenda, as the Summit gathered smart city decision-makers, smart city stakeholders, telecom operators, technology vendors and smart city consultants to discuss the best developments and planning of future cities. He shared plans for the event and topics to be discussed, such as telco and city infrastructure, looking toward 5G, network deployment, transport of the future and data traffic. Looking ahead to a full day of presentations, Mr. Eid said: “As usual, our Summit is about sharing ideas, knowledge and opinions in order to help shape the future together.”

Mr. El Kady began his speech by “exploring how we can link the Smart Dubai vision with our government’s [Egypt’s] plans for sustainable development.”

“In Egypt and in other regions, governments are now executing plans for sustainable developments. We have recently developed 20 to 30 sustainable projects and we have other strategies in place for our country,” said His Excellency Mr. El Kady. “ICT is becoming – or has become – one of the most important pillars when it comes to implementing sustainable developments – and you will find that ICT in all its dimensions features prominently in our 2030 strategic development plan towards Egypt.”

Referring to the presentation by Mr. Wesam Lootah, Mr. El Kady discussed the important role of the government highlighted in the keynote speech, which “illustrated clearly the importance of political support.” This is very important, he said, adding that, “If you have a plan, and you have a strategy without a real high level of political support, then of course the plan can be executed, but not in a very strong way.”

“Having that support from a political point of view gives you a lot of support. In Egypt, the president of our nation has extended his full support to ICT. He looks to ICT and recognizes it as the real transformation for the country, and he has committed to building multiple entrepreneur centers to encourage innovation across the region,” said Mr. El Kady. “In Egypt, we have a population of 92 million and we have 27 governorates, but we are now in the process of constructing technology and innovation centers in each and every one of the governorates. This is designed to fully focus on innovation, enterprises and ICT.”

His Excellency Mr. El Kady elaborated on how the Egyptian government is constructing technology parks across seven governorates and has already integrated two in one year. In Cairo, he said the government has established a smart village, but “again it’s a matter of building the infrastructure and the platform towards real country transformation.” This is a “great initiative” he said, especially when considering the journey to smart city transformation. It’s not just an initiative here in Dubai, said Mr. El Kady, but an initiative that can be executed anywhere with the right planning and execution.

“As part of the plan for Egypt in relation to smart cities, we want to embrace this vision. The new capital of Egypt will be a smart capital, and a smart city. We are going to leverage all the expertise we have learned from Dubai and beyond in order to implement our vision. It’s important to share these ideas at events like these in order to deliver the proper services required to keep a population of 92 million happy.”