The NTRA is fully committed to its international obligations. Our objective is to build up global partnerships for development of the telecommunications sector in Egypt, to turn digital divide into a digital opportunity for sustainable advancement and improvement of the quality of life of all people, especially those isolated by economic and knowledge barriers.
International Telecommunication Unit (ITU):
Egypt has been a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) since 1876. NTRA actively participated in all ITU sectors. We work closely with the Standardization, Radio-Communication and Development sectors to realize maximum benefit from the international cooperation within the Union.
The World Summit on Information Society that was held in November 2005 reorganized the priorities of nations, bringing forth the idea of developing nations through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has taken up the role of overseeing the process of development through the usage of ICTs, alongside other international organizations as well. The upcoming plenipotentiary conference, which will be held in Antalya, Turkey in November 2006, shall bear witness to the steps that were taken after the WSIS process and attempt to chart a way forward based on the changes that have taken place.
Egypt is nominating itself for a seat in the ITU Council, in the elections that will take place during the first week of the Plenipotentiary Conference. Egypt has made substantial effort for the preparation of this important event, by coordinating with both the Arab and African countries through regional and bilateral partnerships, enhanced considerably through the participation in regional aggregations such as the ARNET and ARICEA
Internet Governance Forum (IGF):
Due to the growing importance of internet governance that was emphasized in both phases of the WSIS process, the Internet Governance Forum was created to discuss these issues that have surfaced recently. The forum, which works under the auspices of the United Nations, includes members from all stakeholders involved with the internet environment, and is meant to discuss public policy matters and other issues related to the deployment of the Internet worldwide.
In order to keep pace with the changes highlighted in the WSIS, Egypt created a task force on Internet Governance to study the topic. The task force includes members from the Public and Private sectors as well as members from the civil society in order to ensure equal representation of all segments of society. Egypt is also coordinating efforts with ICANN to hold a workshop on Multi-lingualism that will take place parallel to the Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece later this year.
Association of Regulators of Information and Communication for Eastern and Southern Africa (ARICEA):
The Association of Regulators of Information and Communication for Eastern and Southern Africa (ARICEA) is a consultative and collaborative forum. It brings together regulators and associated actors in the information and communications technology services (ICT) sector in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) area. Egypt has been a founding member of the ARICEA in 2003.
The Arab Network for Regulatory Authorities (ARNET):
The Arab Network for Regulatory Authorities (ARNET) was formed upon agreement between the regulatory authorities participating in the first symposium for the Arab Regulatory Authorities in April 2003 in Algeria. ARNET meets twice each year and it organizes other unofficial meetings all over the year to discuss the latest developments and to follow-up on projects’ status. The ARNET chairmanship circulates among Arab regulators in alphabetical order, except for Egypt that took over after Jordan, as an exception. Algeria is the ARNET secretariat. Membership of ARNET is open to all Arab countries.
ARNETS’ objective is to establish a network on the Arab level, with the aim of developing the ICT sector in the Arab countries To this end, ARNET will propose and implement systems, policies and measures marked with fairness and transparency in an enabling ICT investment environment.
Egypt’s presidency to the ARNET was marked with several achievements. A number of projects were proposed and implemented. One of the chief achievements was the study of the Roaming Prices problem and the Egyptian solutions proposed for solving this problem.
In 2004, the Association Agreement (AA) between Egypt and the European Union entered into force, enabling an enhanced state of partnership between both contracting entities. The AA provides for a wide scope of cooperation in diverse areas including, among others, trade, industry, customs, social development and education. The AA will greatly help in increasing dialogue and cooperation between actors on both sides in the political, economic and social spheres.
In this context, the European Commission and the Egyptian Government have signed a €25 million Institutional Twinning program that will provide direct support to the implementation of the AA through promoting the institutional strengthening of Egyptian Public Institutions involved in the implementation of the AA. The Program also aims at legislative approximation of the sectors included into the AA. The support will be based on models which proved highly successful when implemented during the enlargement process in what were then the candidate members of the EU.
The overall objective of twinning is legislative approximation between Egypt and EU to facilitate trade and promote the participation of the Egyptian authorities in the EU market and vice versa, to the benefit of the citizens and free movement of goods and services.
NTRA views “institutional twinning” as an efficient tool to enhance its capacity as telecom regulator through legislative approximation with EU Regulatory bodies and through the application of EU best practices that is best suited for the Egyptian context. Seeing that a large number of European countries went through similar experiences of having dealt with liberalizing telecom sectors dominated by monopolies without endangering the social aspects or compromising consumer concerns is also an added advantage to the foreseen cooperation with European counterparts.