Egypt has opened business activities in its landmark “Smart City’’ – the largest of its type in the Arab world.
Officials of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) led 27 visiting journalists from sub-Saharan Africa on a guided tour of the expansive estate on Tuesday.
Translated as “Smart Village’’ in Egypt’s official Arabic language, the estate is home to 180 companies and it sits on one million metres of land.
No fewer than 800,000 people work in various companies in the Smart Village,’’ records show.
It is expected that residents will use smart cards and apps to unlock doors and make payments and surf the web on public WiFi beamed from lampposts.
A network of at least 6,000 cameras will monitor activity on every street, tracking pedestrians and vehicles to regulate traffic and report suspicious activity.
The “smart city” design is a world away from parts of the existing sprawling capital, where creaking infrastructure can mean patchy internet and phone coverage, doormen at densely built apartment blocks form a human network of look-outs and administrative errands can involve hours of queuing.
The village is located at Al Ziza Desert in the Giza Governorate of the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
According to the Marketing Manager of the facility, Mrs Piney Mohammed, the building of the smart village commenced 29 years ago, to serve a special purpose for the North African country.
She said that the city was designed to be the hub of big businesses in Egypt and other neighbouring countries in the Arab world, especially those in North Africa.
The city houses the headquarters of the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, including the country’s Information Technology Institute (ITI).
A Cyber-security expert working at the institute, Dr Mohammed Ali, led the visiting journalists on a guided tour of the institute.
He said that the ITI had been offering yearly scholarships to Egyptians and citizens of neighbouring countries in North Africa, to bridge the gap between industry and the academia.
Ali said that up to 85 per cent of graduates of the institute usually got jobs before graduating from the institute.
According to him, the institute offers 40 specialised courses in data management, geographic information system, block chain, data science and other related courses.
He said that about 3,000 postgraduate and 3,000 undergraduate scholarships were awarded to Egyptians every year at the institute through “a very competitive process.
“This institute is something good for every country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish. It will beneficial for their peoples to embrace ICT,’’ he said.
Asked if the institute’s scholarships were extended to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Ali said that no citizen from sub-Saharan Africa had benefited from the scholarship scheme yet.
With a booming economy and stable governance, Egypt has embarked on new town projects and urban renewal to sustain the country as a showpiece and “Cradle of Civilization’’.
Egypt is classified as one of Africa’s oldest countries and it has been in existence since around 3100 BC, according to historians.
The country, which is currently Africa’s biggest economy became an independent nation on Feb. 28, 1922.