Under the auspices of H.E. President of Egypt … Minister of Communications and Information Technology- Dr. Amr Talaat – witnesses the opening of ITUGSR-23 in presence of ITU Secretary-General – Ms. Doreen Bogdan Martin
 13 June 2023

Dr. Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, witnessed the opening of the Global Symposium for Regulators (ITUGSR-23), held in Sharm El-Sheikh from June 5-8, 2023, under the auspices of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. More than 700 specialists of telecommunication regulators and policy-makers from more than 100 countries took part in the event to discuss ICT regulatory and governance policies.

During the opening ceremony, a speech was given by each of Dr. Amr Talaat, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU-Secretary General, Eng. Hossam El-Gamal, NTRA’s Executive President, and Dr. Cosmas Zavazava, Director of ITU- Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), where they expressed their happiness with ITUGSR-23 being launched with such  large number of experts, policy-makers and telecom industry representatives taking part. They also clarified that all participants gathered to discuss the most pressing regulatory issues associated with community, in light of the modern technologies and apps’ rapid growth. They also pointed out that discussions aim to achieve an inclusive sustainable digital future.

Meanwhile, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had chosen Eng. Hossam El-Gamal, Executive President of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA) as the Chairperson of ITUGSR-23, which marked the first physical presence of telecommunications regulators worldwide after two sessions of virtual participation due to COVID-19 restrictions.

On ITUGSR-23 sidelines, a technology exhibition was held with the participation of major international as well as local ICT companies to present the latest digital innovative technologies and applications that would serve communities. To this end, a new range of robots capable of engaging in full conversations with humans was unveiled, which are also being programmed to work as university assistant professors. Meanwhile, smart radars to secure trains and railways were also projected in addition to an integrated Metaverse trial to display Egypt’s historical and tourist sites using the latest 3D technologies to promote tourism. New shows were also designed to showcase the hologram modern apps and how these could be used for remotely conducting virtual 3D meetings or diagnosing patients. Furthermore, the exhibition entailed a specific suite for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), NTRA as well as the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT).

Eng. Hossam El-Gamal headed the ITUGSR-23 Preparatory Meeting attended by more than 50 presidents of regulatory authorities worldwide, where he projected Egypt’s experience in cooperative digital regulation and how it was successfully utilized as a tool to achieve an integrated digital economy and create an efficient regulatory environment that provides high-quality services. He also presented the Best Practice Guidelines that would promote the ideal regulatory and economic status for an inclusive sustainable digital future.

On the other hand, NTRA’s EP delivered a speech during the ITUGSR-23 opening ceremony where he welcomed all participants and international delegates who covered a distance of 3.5 million kilometers and 4200 flight-hours to attend the event and be able to share their views and expertise on major regulatory issues to community. He also pointed out, the seven years which have passed since Egypt last hosted GSR16 witnessed a number of shifts to our lives that will remain engraved in the minds of humanity and will stand out in history due to the changes it made to the usage patterns of digital services and applications around the world.

Eng. El-Gamal also added: “It goes without saying that COVID-19 has had negative effects on life’s different aspects, but on the other hand, it has had a tangible positive impact on expediting the process of inclusive digital transformation, serving as a stimulating informative light hole that transferred humanity a whole decade ahead within a short period of time during the journey of digital transformation. This breakthrough is obvious in the frequency of using modern applications and technologies, which reduced years of traditional development.

During that period, we witnessed a growth rate of about 80% in the use of Wi-Fi services, and of about 48% in the volume of international Internet traffic. Meanwhile, international data capacity raised by 35%.”

Eng. El-Gamal highlighted as well the great attention paid by the Egyptian State to women, being active in adopting the use of digital culture and reaping its social and economic fruits faster. He also stated that since women represent almost half of Egypt’s population, thus being empowered is a key factor to stimulate productivity and economic growth in society. Moreover, NTRA’s EP clarified that according to recent statistics released for Egypt’s market, women share with men the uses of modern communication channels and technologies as well as possession of digital transformation tools. This rate even soars when we talk about search skills, whether for commodities or services provided online, indicating a promising future for digital transformation in general and for digital commerce in the Egyptian market particularly.

He also spoke about Egypt’s telecommunications market being a polarizing arena for technology investments, thanks to the distinct capabilities Egypt has such as the geographical location, the availability of a highly skilled workforce as well as a business environment suitable for investments, and investment incentives. Eng. El-Gamal added, these factors significantly contributed to rising the telecommunications sector’s annual growth rate to become the highest among the rest of the State’s sectors nationwide, in terms of their contribution to the GDP.

Eng. El-Gamal also pointed out, “Therefore, it was necessary for us at NTRA, as a regulatory authority, to issue and develop new governance frameworks, bearing in mind two main goals, the first is to promote and attract new investments to this market, while the second is to disseminate digital culture to all society segments, while at the same time addressing the challenges and risks associated with that growth, especially with regard to cybersecurity.”

He also added that in order to rapidly achieve a sustainable and inclusive digital future, we must embark on the successful regulatory experiences of other countries and for this reason, workshops and forums were held during the past year with the participation of more than 30 Arab and African countries at the center of regulatory studies, subordinate to NTRA, which was recently accredited as one of the ITU Academy partners worldwide and with more than 150 experts and specialists in regulatory fields taking part.

Moreover, Eng. El-Gamal asserted the significance of ITUGSR-23 this year, which was held under the theme: “Regulation for a Sustainable Digital Future,” in discussing topics of cybersecurity, spectrum management, digital innovation, digital accessibility, emergency communication systems, child protection online, as well as matters related to environmental sustainability and modern technologies, all in line with the requirements and needs of our communities as they carry on with their expedited journey towards digital transformation.

NTRA’s EP concluded his speech with expressing his deep appreciation for the great support received from States, regional and international organizations, and civil society entities that participated in and contributed to drafting the Best Practice Guidelines. He also pointed out, their efforts were also clear to reach out for important regulatory and economic incentives to stimulate the deployment of sustainable infrastructure, especially in rural and underserved areas.

GSR-23 Opening Ceremony:


Eng. Hossam El-Gamal, Executive President of NTRA, also held several bilateral meetings with leaders of telecommunication regulatory authorities of several countries, on ITUGSR-23 sidelines. Eng. El-Gamal met with Prof. Konstantinos Masselos, President of Hellenic Telecommunications & Post Commission (EETT), where both parties discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation between both authorities and coordinating common stances in preparation for the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by the end of this year. He also met with Dr. P.D. Vaghela, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), where topics of reinforcing bilateral relations were discussed in line with the last Presidential visit to India. Meanwhile, the uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how to be best utilized to reap benefits, were also tackled.

Furthermore, Eng. El-Gamal received Ms. Mary Mungai, Chairperson of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA, where both parties reviewed ways of joint cooperation between the two authorities, especially with regard to mobile payment service, cybersecurity and provision of telecom service in unconnected areas. During meeting, cooperation ways through the Egyptian African Training Regulatory Center (EG-ATRC) were also tackled. It’s worth noting that EG-ATRC was inaugurated by NTRA in July 2021 to exchange telecom expertise across the African countries via specialized training programs that entail Egyptian academic as well as professional experts and was recently accredited by ITU as a global partner.

Eng. Hossam El-Gamal also held a meeting with Eng. Bassem Al-Sarhan, Chairman of Board of Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, the Kingdom of Jordan, (TRC) during which they discussed topics of building human cadres and cooperation in modern telecommunications. Moreover, Eng. El-Gamal also met with H.E. Dr. Mohamed Saud Al-Tamimi, Governor of the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST), Saudi Arabia, where he reviewed Egypt’s leading initiative “Haya Karima” and how it helped to achieve harmony among the State’s organizations in order to provide a decent life for citizens in rural and underserved areas. He also showcased the milestones achieved by EG-ATRC and its massive effect as an incubator for the ideas of telecom experts from Africa and the Arab world. Additionally, Eng. Hossam discussed ways to achieve harmony between both authorities and address common challenges, in order to provide digital regulatory solutions to citizens. Meanwhile, topics of enhancing broadband services, ICT innovations, in addition to promoting green energy were tackled.

Similarly, Eng. Hossam El-Gamal had a meeting with Ms. Yolisa Kedama, Acting Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), where the role of EG-ATRC was showcased, as the first center of its kind to provide telecom training courses in Africa. The center actually paves the road for telecom experience to be exchanged across the African countries and aims to achieve a unified vision among telecom regulators and other relevant entities, in order to establish a promising digital economy in Africa. Furthermore, topics of user-rights protection and ideal management of frequency were also discussed.

NTRA’s EP also held a meeting with H.E. Eng. Omar Al-Ismaili, Executive President of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Oman (TRA), during which topics of joint interest such as, reduction of spam calls and SMS, as well as ways of joint cooperation in providing OTT services were discussed. Additionally, regulatory challenges to modern technologies were tackled, while Eng. El-Gamal also highlighted the prominent role of EG-ATRC and discussed the possible ways through which Omani experts could take part within EG-ATRC’s roundtable. Many other topics of relevance were also tackled such as exchanging expertise regarding Mobile Number Portability Service (MNP) and laying submarine communications cables.

Meanwhile, Eng. El-Gamal held a joint meeting with Mr. Jacek Oko, President of Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), where both sides discussed the coordination of stances in (WRC-23) and ways of cooperation between both entities on cybersecurity topics.

Moreover, Eng. Hossam El-Gamal also expressed NTRA’s full support to the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) of UAE in hosting the WRC-23 from November 20 to December 15, 2023, within his meeting with TDRA’s Director-General, H.E. Eng. Majed Al-Mesmar. He also reviewed ways of cooperation between the TDRA’s Virtual Academy and EG-ATRC.

On the other hand, Eng. Hossam El-Gamal had a meeting with Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the US Federal Communications Commission, where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on exchanging expertise between both sides, especially with regard to broadband services and securing networks. Both parties also tackled topics of building human capacity. 

On the closing day of ITUGSR-23, Eng. Hossam El-Gamal gave a speech in which he said, this event represents a unique experience which will remain engraved in our minds, with all meaningful and fruitful discussions as well as outputs it witnessed. Eng. El-Gamal also said that the several agreements signed on ITUGSR-23 sidelines and the technology exhibition which was organized for the first time ever to present the latest technologies, reflect the impact of the established regulatory frameworks on community and would facilitate the transition process to adopt such technologies.

He also pointed out, the Best Practice Guidelines released under the theme: “Regulatory and economic incentives for an inclusive sustainable digital future”, and endorsed today, is a major output of the event.

Moreover, Eng. El-Gamal addressed ITUGSR-23 participants stating that we should all work together to foster a stimulating environment for innovation, investment and free competition, bearing in mind the requirements of all digital industry stakeholders which were the main concerns behind drafting the Guidelines. NTRA’s EP also added, we look forward these Guidelines would be adopted by ITU while defining future standards, especially to assess the Guidelines’ impact in bridging the digital divide in our societies towards productivity. Eng. El-Gamal also expressed his full confidence that the spirit of cooperation and innovation at the professional level, as well as the personal friendships developed during the event, will carry on.  Eventually, he expressed his deep sense of gratitude to ITU team headed by Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General and Dr. Cosmas Zavazava, Director of ITU- Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), for their trust and for giving the chance for such major event to be hosted by Egypt.

GSR-23 Closing Ceremony:


ITU Interview with Eng. Hossam El Gamal: