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21 Jul 2023


H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, at the side event held by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) under the title "Breaking Borders: Technology and Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in the Arab Region".




This took place on the sidelines of the high-level political forum on sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, which was held from 10 to 19 July under the title "Accelerating Recovery from Covid-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels."


The event witnessed the presence of Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Hisham Al-Sheikh, Deputy Governor of the Shared Services Sector in the Digital Government Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Ambassador Omar Helal, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations.


During her speech, Dr. Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, referred to the efforts made by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in promoting digital transformation and sustainable development in the region.


Dr. Hala El-Said touched on global efforts to promote digital transformation. She explained that sustainable development goals emphasize the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, innovation, and communication worldwide.


El-Said added that many countries have developed national digital transformation strategies, focusing on investing in infrastructure, developing digital skills, and adopting emerging technologies.


El-Said explained that the Corona pandemic had a significant impact on accelerating digitization globally, as companies and individuals had to adapt to the new ways of living and working imposed by the pandemic, which led to a rapid shift towards more innovative and sustainable digital solutions.


El-Said added that partnerships between the public and private sectors proved to be effective mechanisms to accelerate digital transformation.


El-Said said that these collective efforts aim to take advantage of digital technologies to drive economic growth, improve access to services, promote social inclusion, and build a sustainable future for all.


Regarding the Egyptian government's efforts to promote digital transformation, El-Said explained that Egypt has many implementation priorities for digital transformation that are compatible with sustainable development goals, as the digital transformation agenda in Egypt supports various economic and development sectors.


El-Said talked about the country's efforts to enhance financial inclusion through mobile banking services, digital payment systems, and financial technology innovations, which increase access to finance services.


This contributes to achieving the first sustainable development goal, which focuses on eradicating poverty. In addition, it contributes to the tenth development goal, which aims to reduce inequality.


El-Said also referred to smart agriculture, explaining that Egypt is deploying digital solutions, including precision farming techniques and remote sensing techniques, to improve agricultural productivity, improve water use, and reduce environmental impact. Following up, another implementation priority is developing healthcare services through digital solutions.


El-Said added that one of Egypt's main priorities is to improve access to quality education services through technology, pointing to the initiatives undertaken by the state to strengthen the education sector, by strengthening e-learning platforms and providing digital resources, stressing the importance of education in keeping pace with artificial intelligence, noting also the importance of technical education in Egypt and STEAM Schools.


El-Said also talked about Egypt's implementation of a digital platform to monitor and manage renewable energy projects, solar farms, and wind energy, to improve energy production and network integration. She added that Egypt's digital transformation agenda also focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation.


On digital governance and electronic services, El-Said affirmed Egypt's investment in digitizing government services, making them more accessible and efficient for citizens.


El-Said added that all of these efforts are numerous examples of how Egypt's digital transformation agenda can help achieve sustainable development goals.


El-Said explained that by embracing technology and taking advantage of its potential, Egypt is making substantial strides toward a more sustainable and inclusive future.


El-Said added that the Egyptian government is aware of the importance of implementing a comprehensive approach to highlight national talents in the field of artificial intelligence among young people in Egypt, by promoting artificial intelligence education in cooperation with educational institutions and offering courses and workshops that introduce the concepts of artificial intelligence from a young age.


El-Said explained that ensuring access to resources such as artificial intelligence libraries, training courses, and online platforms will enable students to explore artificial intelligence at their own pace and experiment with different tools. In addition, students can invest in artificial intelligence infrastructure, research, and study grants.


Concluding her speech, El-Said stressed that ESCWA initiatives were instrumental in enhancing digital technologies' power to improve access to education, health care, and other basic services. In addition, they promoted technological skills and entrepreneurship and enabled individuals to benefit from the digital age.