Egypt's ICT Indicators Portal
Information Center

The Problem

Indicators suffered inconsistency when published by the Ministry or by its affiliates, for example: The rate of growth of ICT revenues was mistakenly used to reflect the growth of ICT GDP. In addition, there was a problem of unavailability of indicators for measuring the characteristics of using ICT within the households, businesses, government, education and health sectors which represented a big obstacle for policy makers as well as many International Organizations where they compose a relatively large proportion of many Indices published in their reports. Even when indicators were available, they were not easily accessible as they were scattered around different departments and sources with no single pool of data that can be used and accessed by different parties.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The main achievement of the project was the implementation of the FIRST Egyptian ICT Indicators portal which is a precedent in the Arab and African regions. The portal provides the necessary, accurate and meaningful data about ICT sector in Egypt. It has the broadest scope, as it is measuring ICT usage in different fields: Households, Businesses, Government, Education, Health, IT Clubs and internet cafes. In addition, it pools together sets of hard and soft data with different frequencies; monthly, quarterly, and annually. It also allows display of indicators by multiple categories and sub-categories both graphically and in a tabular form. Furthermore, it provides friendly interface for ease of use for all types of beneficiaries which include policy makers, researchers, academia, the media, investors, businessmen and international organizations.

The impact of the project is being continuously measured through regular interaction with all beneficiaries from the portal. This process takes place via a questionnaire distributed to all types of beneficiaries inquiring about the return and benefits they derive from the indicators, information and reports on the portal and whether they have any suggestions or proposals to improve the portal’s content which in turn will maximize their satisfaction.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Information Center within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology proposed the solution and cooperated with Microsoft and one of its partners from the private sector to bring success to the project through the mode of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The National statistical agency (CAPMAS) has contributed to the project through the process of data collection, compilation and data entry. The stakeholders included also the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and the National ICT regulator NTRA.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The project depended on several strategies which included; Adopting a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, building an intelligent database within MCIT for ICT indicators which helps in measuring and analyzing the information society in Egypt according to international standards, building the capacity in the area of ICT indicators in Egypt, monitoring ICT usage within different sectors internally and across the regions, providing international organizations with the required data to feed their analytical ICT reports and indicators which helps to position Egypt in the rank that it deserves regionally and internationally and providing decision makers with early, accurate ICT indicators which help them in setting the policies and strategies related to the ICT sector as well as to follow up the policies implemented.

All the strategies were developed by the Information Center team through collaborative work.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
In 2006 the Information society Indicators project was launched.
During 2006 the preparation phase took place which included:
• Designing questionnaires.
• Designing the appropriate methodologies.
• Conducting the surveys and extracting the result by the National Statistical Office CAPMAS.
In January 2007 the results came out and were analyzed. The whole exercise was repeated in cooperation with the CAPMAS from 2007 till now.
In October 2008 the official English version of the Portal was launched.
In April 2009 the Arabic version came out.
In October 2009 more enhancements took place like:
• Advanced Analysis
• ICT in Education Sector
• ICT in Health Sector
• Adding Personalization tools such that each user has the ability to customize the webpage according to his preference in terms of colors, display..etc.
In 2010 further added sections were:
• ICT for empowering women

The process of data collection, calculation, analysis and publishing is conducted on an annual basis for the current scope in addition to new areas and developments added each year. Moreover, enhancements to the portal are an ongoing process for the benefit of all users and to make them more attached to the portal and its services.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The difficulty of working with one database that incorporates all the indicators and must have the ability to expand to absorb all the additions to the indicators.
Some difficulties in data collection from companies due to reluctance to disclose sensitive financial data like revenues for example.
Moreover, companies are reluctant to supply their data due to competition in the sector.
Some difficulties in collecting personal data from households such as disclosing income information.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The financial cost reached 3.5 million EGP for startup in addition to annual sum of 2.5 million for feeding the portal with updates.
Total human resources working on the project reached 15+ including economists, analysts and developers. In addition to 200 data collector.
The mobilization process took place through a dedicated team from the Information Center who focused on following up the technical issues of the project. On the other hand there was a supportive team also from the Information Center handling administrative issues and also devoted to continuous revision and double checking.
In addition, the CAPMAS dedicated a team of data collectors and data entry team. The IC team worked closely with the Microsoft team on technical issues.
The whole process was navigated through working according to a project plan and via a series of follow up meetings for continuous reviewing and updating and modifying ahead of time.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The project has entered successfully its 5th year. Many developments and enhancements have taken place since the launch of the portal to ensure the continuation of this success. Most importantly, due to the importance of having up to date statistics for ICT sector the project has attained the policy maker’s support and encouragement which has ensured that the financial resources dedicated to the project are sustainable through MCIT's commitment to finance it.

Replication of the project has taken place on an internal level and an external one.
On the internal level, other departments inside the Ministry have used the data collection questionnaires for the purpose of measuring the progress in the Egyptian Education Initiative (EEI). On an external level, other Ministries like the Ministry of State for Administrative Development have used the same questionnaire form for collecting similar indicators for E-Readiness in the government sector. In addition, on a regional level some Arab countries like Jordan have used our questionnaire as part of their guidelines for conducting surveys.

As a result of the initiative’s success different International organizations like the ITU, OECD, UNCTAD and the World Bank have asked Egypt to present their experience as a case study on different conventions and meetings.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The most important impacts of the project were positioning Egypt in the place that is deserved regionally and internationally according to the ICT indicators, and also being able to measure and display the economic impact of ICT in Egypt. In addition, the project has resulted in having a clear understanding of the patterns and characteristics of the ICT sector in Egypt for different categories like households, businesses and government.

The project has played a crucial role in shaping the policies and decisions taken by the policy makers. For example in one of the initiatives taken by the Ministry named “PC for Every Home” initiative, was restructured through different measures like: the inclusion of banks; the introduction of electronic payment using credit card/point of sale (POS) mechanisms; extension of warranties for PCs from one to three years; and provision of call center services with a dedicated number. Those measures were taken in response to a good reading of the behavior and patterns of ICT usage in the Households sector which couldn’t have existed without the availability of indicators pointing out those patterns. Another example is the broadband initiative, where the availability of indicators on the portal reflecting the unaffordability of broadband services for a large sector in the economy which was then taken into account in drawing policies through reducing broadband prices which paid back in terms of the tremendous growth rates in broadband subscribers that surpassed 200%. Another important impact is that on the private businesses who based their decisions for customizing products that are suitable for certain categories like females, youth and certain professions or according to geographical residence on an accurate reading of the behavior of ICT usage in Egypt which was provided only through the project. In addition, another impact within the IT club project is that policy makers have been able to assess the efficiency of the clubs depending on the indicators collected from IT club visitors and hence setting new strategies to expand some of them in terms of their role and capacity.
Never the least this whole process in the end has benefited the public directly through policies, products and services that satisfies to their demand patterns and behavior in ICT usage. Moreover, this interactive process called for innovation from the industry side, a prerequisite to keep the ICT sector in Egypt as dynamic and successful as should be

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Information Center
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Nagwa Elshinawy
Title:   Information Center Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +20235341615/+20235371222
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Smart Village, B1, Km.28, Cairo/Alex. Desert Rd.,Giza
Postal Code:   12577
City:   Giza
Country:   Egypt

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