Egypt's Artificial Intelligence Future
As Egypt has become a safer place to live and do business, the country has started to embrace artificial intelligence & technology in their society.
The government has gotten more aggressive in sparking the Ai growth through initiatives aimed at fostering research and development within their borders. In this march towards an Egyptian society powered by Ai & robotics, an aggressive public goal was set by the government of 7.7% of Egyptian Gross Domestic Product to be derived from Ai & robotics by 2030.
As the political climate has calmed since the Arab Spring uprisings, the economy has started to notch significant gains. Egypt's GDP growth was the largest single-country contributor to overall growth in the African continent in 2019. After a decade of being stuck in a 2-4% GDP growth range when not stagnating, the rate is expected to hit 6% in 2020. Egypt's 2019 and 2018 GDP growth rates were their highest respectively, in a decade.
Just this November, the Egyptian Cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli created the National Council for Artificial Intelligence. This will be a governmental division under the Communications & Information Technology minister. The main focus of this group is to create partnerships with multinational technology behemoths such as Microsoft, ESRI, VMware and Teradata as well as encourage domestic universities to offer more Ai classes to their students.
Additionally, the Egyptian government created the first Ai faculty in the country. Kafr El Sheikh University, located about 140 kilometer's north of Cairo and 125 kilometers east of the Port of Alexandria, is one of the most respected universities in Egypt and will house the Ai faculty. The school is known for its work in the sciences, including engineering and medicine. So it’s strong engineering background made Kafr El Sheikh University a natural fit.
The overall momentum of Ai development in the Persian Gulf states is increasing steadily. Microsoft expects 29% of large scale enterprises in the Gulf region to adopt Ai in the near future. And though Egypt's 7.7% of GDP being attributable to Ai goal seems impressive, the United Arab Emirates has 14% as their targeted goal.
Acteeva is an Egyptian startup that has gained substantial international press for their work with Ai. Forbes listed Acteeva as one of the 10 hottest Ai startups in 2017. However, shortly after venture capital funding, the firm relocated to Singapore. Egypt will need the innovative companies of tomorrow to stay in Egypt and help foster the growth of the domestic Ai industry.
IBM has had a presence in Egypt since 1954, but only last year announced their first Ai & Big Data development center in Cairo. Previously IBM had only held sales and marketing operations in the country. Now, they will be looking to source from local Ai talent, not transfer in employees from New York.
Egpytian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in December of 2019, "We made sure that all the relevant Ai technologies and applications are incorporated in the process of digitizing all of the Egyptian government's services," With strong leadership from the top and a people eager to learn, Egypt looks to have a bright Ai future.