Communications and information technology (CIT) has a central place in Xi Jinping’s ambitious strategy that aims for China to take its place as a superpower in a new international system, completely different from the one in place today. Chinese leaders think that the evolution of communications technologies and the Internet, in particular, have transferred the world to a new era through a new industrial revolution where capital is no longer at the center but data is. In the simplest way possible, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) thinkers as well as Xi, believe that taking possession of data and having the tools for reshaping and controlling its going where you want it to be is the main producer of economic wealth, power, and international hegemony in tomorrow’s world. It is no surprise that turning this concept into practical strategy and policies would produce projects like the “Belt and Road Initiative,” and its CIT-related branch the “Digital Silk Road.” Both initiatives aim for China to be in the center of the digital world by connecting the whole world to itself, and thus to be in the place where it can control the flow of the largest portion of data in the world.
The digital world is not ephemeral. It still depends on the real physical world and is affected by it. This places Egypt in a special place on the “Belt and Road” map as well as the “Digital Silk Roads”. Egypt lies exactly at the connection point most frequented by data exchanged among different parts of the world. 95% of Internet data traffic goes through submarine cables, and Egypt has the largest number of those cables that connect the old world’s three continents. It’s not surprising that China seeks to be closer to Egypt then. At the same time, the current Egyptian regime finds this an opportunity to get rid of the necessary need for economic ties with the West that comes with the price of being inspected for Human Rights status in Egypt. China offers a mix that is both comforting and lucrative. China doesn’t care for its partners’ Human Rights related practices, in the end of the day, China itself might be the biggest violator of its own citizens’ rights. On the other hand, China is a horse that biting on in the coming race for economic or political ascendance is not a dangerous gamble by any means, most indicators tell that the chance that China would achieve its ambitions is large and is getting larger with time.
Threats and Dangers
1 – National Security Threats
There is ample evidence that all Chinese private companies are tightly tied to the Chinese government and the CCP. This means that in many cases the policies and decisions of these companies may be politically motivated. Whether voluntarily or not, any Chinese company can at any time be collaborating with Chinese intelligence agencies. This is explicitly mandated by the Chinese law itself.
China has practiced espionage (like everybody else), but it has the unfair advantage of not needing to search for and figure out how to break through backdoors; it simply controls those who can create as many backdoors as needed. The most famous example is the scandalous data leak in the African Union headquarters.
In 2020 in the time of preparation for the African Union’s annual leader’s summit, as Reuters reported, the employees of the organization discovered that footage from the headquarters’ cameras was being stolen. The discovery was made based on a tip in the form of an email sent by Koichiro Komiyama, who directs the global coordination division of the Japanese Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), alerting the AU officials that there was suspicious traffic between their network and a domain known to be associated with a Chinese hackers group.
This wasn’t the first security problem with the headquarters building and its surveillance systems, there was another incident related to the AU, and both were implemented by Chinese companies under a grant from the Chinese government. In 2018 Le Monde reported another discovery by the AU employees. They found that the servers at the new conference center were sending copies of their contents to Shanghai every night.
Related to this threat is the United States’ call on the Egyptian government through an official statement issued by its embassy in Cairo in October 2020, “not to allow Chinese companies to help establish the country’s 5G telecommunications infrastructure.” The statement also “urged” Cairo to join the “Clean Network” program describing it to be “a comprehensive approach to safeguarding a nation’s assets including citizens’ privacy and companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.” The Clean Network alliance at the time had managed to attract more than 40 countries around the world besides 60 global telecoms including Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Verizon, and Telefonica.
2 – Facilitating Human Rights Violations
It can’t be proved that the Chinese government deliberately subsidizes the export of repressive technologies. It might be just exploiting the willingness of authoritarian regimes in developing countries to obtain such technologies. In either case, the fact that the Chinese companies’ deals depend in many cases on Chinese government grants, or soft loans to the buying countries makes evident that in these cases the authoritarian regimes in these countries wouldn’t be able to obtain such technologies if not for the Chinese government involvement. This is a Chinese policy, with dire consequences for the people under the rule of the buying regimes.
Chinese Tech Companies in Egypt
As early as 2002 the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt and the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) of China signed a memorandum of understanding aiming at the development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in both countries. This was instrumental in opening the door for Chinese companies to enter the Egyptian market with full support from the Chinese government. Egypt is one of China’s chosen hubs and entry points into Africa.
In December 2005, Huawei launched its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Technical Assistance and Training Center in Cairo. The center expands over 3000 square meters with $3 million in investments.
During the Cairo ICT 2017, Huawei launched its Cairo OpenLab, the 8th in the series Huawei erected around the world. The Cairo OpenLab targets enterprise customers and is intended for serving and influencing the whole of North Africa. The OpenLab located in Huawei’s Smart Village office is about 400 square meters and was estimated to expand to over 1,000 square meters in the following two years. The Cairo OpenLab was supposed to focus on public safety areas: smart grid, smart city, smart government, and smart education. It has four functional centers: A partner development center, a solution joint innovation center, a talent training, and certification center, and an industry experience center.
Officials of the Chinese Tech Companies, and Huawei, in particular, are frequent visitors and hosts of the highest-ranking Egyptian government officials and of course the Minister of Communications and Information Technology. While most of the discussed in such visits and meetings can be categorized as nothing more than good intentions that mostly don’t materialize, we can notice that continual discussions with government officials have slowly shaped some of the orientations of the Egyptian CIT strategy and objectives. The following selected examples offer a chance for insights into the dynamics through which the Chinese companies managed to influence the CIT policies in Egypt. One instance worthy of attention is an almost abrupt change in orientation that can be noticed around the last quarter of the year 2015. This coincided with the replacement of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Khaled Nejm, with Yasser El-Kady. While the focus of the ministers before this turning point was on upgrading the old communications networks, a new focus on fancy new digital technologies like AI, and smart cities becomes apparent. This culminated in the current race for the latest technologies, especially for the New Administrative Capital.
In May 2014, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, at the time, Atef Helmy met the Vice President of Huawei Technologies. Also attending the meeting were the Chief Executive Officer of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Huawei Egypt Country Manager. The Minister was interested that Huawei participates in the broadband strategy, multiplies the number of trainees, and takes part in CIT projects in the Suez Canal Axis. The Huawei officials emphasized that the company “considers Egypt a regional center for its customers.” Huawei’s North Africa headquarters are located in Cairo serving 22 countries along with other Huawei regional centers: the Network Operation Center (NOC), the Technical Assistance Center (TAC), and the Regional Training Center (RTC), as well as the Global Resource Service Center (GSRC). During the 15 previous years of the company’s presence in Egypt, it provided training to around 5000 specialized trainees through its RTC.
In September 2015, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, at the time, Khaled Negm, met with Huawei Egypt CEO. Among the meeting attendees were the Head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) Spectrum Sector, and the President of Huawei Wireless Network Product Line. The meeting discussed getting Huawei onboard of the plans for “developing and supporting telecommunications infrastructure networks in Egypt, and plans set to raise the efficiency of telecommunications and internet networks quality, especially those related to 4G frequencies scheduled to be available by early 2016.” Huawei representatives were interested in promoting “their company’s works in the field of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology,” and agreed to have a joint workshop with NTRA, to discuss issues related to using this technology, while preparing to launch a pilot project. Huawei also agreed to discuss “the possibility of launching a factory for mobile phone technology,” after studying it.
In October 2015, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, at the time Yasser Al-Kady, met with Huawei’s Network Sector Head, Huawei North Africa Vice President, and Huawei Egypt CEO. The main takeaways of this meeting were, first discussing the outcome of a meeting that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had during his visit to China, in September 2015 with Huawei’s Chairwoman. Secondly, the two parties emphasized Huawei’s plans for developing the “network” quality and increasing its operational efficiency. The minister called on Huawei to “create a system of harmony in working with all telecommunications networks operators in the Egyptian market.” Thirdly, both parties “agreed that Huawei should participate in providing technological solutions for smart cities, given their experience in several countries.” Besides these points, Huawei officials denied the rumors “that Huawei intends to dispense with some Egyptian employees and transfer its technical support center to India.” They emphasized that contrary to these rumors Huawei increased its employees in Egypt with 100 new jobs in 2014, as well as creating 2000 jobs through cooperation projects with more than 50 local partners.
As per a press release by Huawei, issued on April 22, 2019, the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly received the Chairman of Huawei’s Supervisory Board, at the Prime Minister’s Office. This was the second meeting on such a high level within a year, after talks conducted during the World Economic Forum in January 2019. The press release described the talks between the two parties as “in-depth talks”. The topics were: the New Administrative Capital “smart city construction related technologies, and practical education and training in various industry sectors.” The press release however fails to mention that in this meeting, described by other sources as crucial, Huawei offered to conduct an experiment of the 5G network technology during the African Cup of Nations (CAN), that Egypt was going to host in June of the same year. For unknown reasons, the experiment wasn’t conducted. However, at the time of the announcement, it stirred much interest in the media and drew some fire.
Submarine cables have great importance in the economic-political Chinese strategy reflected in China’s largest and most central project, the “Belt and Road Initiative.” The basic idea of this initiative is to put China in the center of the world by connecting all its regions to it. Means of communication today are digital, and their main infrastructure is submarine cables through which goes more than 95% of Internet traffic. Accordingly, China enacts through its giant companies an aggressive policy for constructing submarine cables that have advantages over the existing ones. It takes advantage of the rapid technological evolution and the high demand for wider bands and higher speeds for data with the advent of a new era for digital networks with the 5G wavelength and IoT technologies knocking on the door.
The unique location of Egypt. It’s being second only to the United States in the number of submarine cables connected to it gives it a special place in the Chinese strategy to connect the world to it. Accordingly, the most ambitious projects for constructing submarine cables that go all the way from China and South East Asia up to Europe can’t be achieved without Egypt being a partner through the state-owned Telecom Egypt. China currently focuses on connecting its neighbors in East and South East Asia to it, but it also started recently pushing huge projects for giant submarine cables that cross the Old World continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), and connect them to each other. In the following, we discuss the most important of these projects and the role of Telecom Egypt in each.
A consortium of Chinese companies led by Huawei signed, in October 2017, along with China Construction Bank, an MoU for constructing Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) submarine cable, which crosses 6800 km connecting South Asia through Pakistan, and East Africa through Djibouti and Kenya. In March 2022, it was announced that the Mediterranean subsea cable section has been completed connecting Abu Talat in Egypt to Marseille in France. Landing stations in Abu Talat, Marseille, Cyprus, and Malta were completed in 2021. In August 2022, the cable was completed as the main section going from Karachi, Pakistan to Zafarana, Egypt along with a landing station in Kenya was ready for operation.
In April 2019, Telecom Egypt signed a landing party (transit) agreement with Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE), and PCCW Global. As per the press release of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, “[the] agreement was signed in the framework of the Belt and Road Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative, during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in the Chinese capital, Beijing.” According to the agreement the PEACE cable will have two landing stations in Zaafarana on the red sea and Abu Talat on the Mediterranean sea. Between the two points it will cross Egypt through “various new terrestrial routes.” The agreement’s value is estimated at $45 million dollars over the lifetime of the cable.
In the same ceremony, Telecom Egypt, PEACE, and its parent company Hengtong signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) under its terms Telecom Egypt will purchase fiber cables from Hengtong while Hengtong will buy the fiber to cross Egypt from Telecom Egypt. PEACE is the first Chinese privately-owned subsea cable system.
In January 2014, the agreement for constructing the AAE-1 Asia-Africa-Europe-1 submarine cable was signed. The cable started as an initiative of the Chinese company Unicom supported by Telecom Egypt. The cable goes for 25,000 km connecting South Eastern Asia to Europe through the Middle East and North Africa. It has landing stations in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, and France.
Landline and Mobile Networks
The Chinese Tech companies, particularly ZTE and Huawei, entered the Egyptian communications networks infrastructure market quite early and at a crucial time, as Egypt was in dire need of upgrading its communications networks to enter the era of digital technology and the transmission of data through telephone landline and wireless cellular networks. Both Huawei and ZTE made competitive offers subsidized as usual by the soft loans and grants provided by the Chinese government. This was quite convenient for the Egyptian government and the national state-owned Telecom Egypt. As the two companies were later already present in the market and in charge of implementing the upgrades of the main communications networks, it was natural that the new mobile phone network service providers found it convenient to resort to them to implement their own networks. Making sure to enter markets early and in the most advantageous times is a Chinese strategy par excellence. It allows Chinese companies to have crucial advantages when the need arises for new upgrades for the project they have already implemented. Such upgrades have become needed more and more often as communications and Internet networks developed rapidly. Huawei in particular focuses on developing LTE technologies which means that the network systems are pre-designed and implemented with coming upgrades in mind. This adds an extra advantage for Huawei.
In conclusion, the Egyptian communications networks for the time being are mostly if not entirely Chinese, in technology, equipment, and implementation. They also depend on Chinese companies for their continuous necessary upgrades. In the following, we point out some important stops on the trajectory of the largest two Chinese companies in the field of communications infrastructure in Egypt from approximately 2002 till the recent past.
In 2004, both ZTE and Huawei won jointly an International tender from Telecom Egypt for implementing the first code division multiple address (CDMA) network in Egypt. The network has a capacity of 60,000 users and involved a total investment of more than $20 million. Interestingly, Okail Bashir, chairman of Telecom Egypt at the time expressed his hopes for more cooperation with ZTE and Huawei as well as other Chinese companies. In December of the next year, one more contract was signed by both Telecom Egypt and Huawei for expanding the wireless fixed network of Telecom Egypt using CDMA technology.
In August 2006, ZTE and Telecom Egypt signed a contract for a 100,000 line for Phase II of TE’s code division multiple address (CDMA) wireless local loop (WLL) project in Cairo and the Delta region., becoming the largest CDMA vendor of Telecom Egypt. In Phase I of the project ZTE provided 60,000 lines of CDMA WLLL systems for the Delta region, which at the time was being put into commercial use. Phase II added 47,500 lines in Delta, and built a new 52,500 line network in 16 Cairo suburbs including Al-Maryotey and Maadi, and in Ramsis and Opera where Telecom Egypt´s headquarters are sited. Besides constructing the full-scale network, ZTE customized a range of solutions specifically for Telecom Egypt´s requirements. ZTE equipped the networks with its Internet protocol (IP) CDMA WLL platform and supplied its 800M core network, access network, and fixed wireless terminals.
Earlier in August 2006, Telecom Egypt awarded Huawei another, rather crucial contract, for modernizing its old network, designed to carry circuit-switched voice traffic, so that it can carry heavy data loads, deliver streaming video, and provide Internet access to a rapidly growing user base. To this end, Huawei would provide Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which enables multiple videos, audio, and data channels to be transmitted over one fiber and increases the efficiency and bandwidth of networks by supporting different formats. The contract period was 3 years and was supposed to increase the capacity of Telecom Egypt’s Cairo network and reduce operating costs while increasing the quality of service. At the time Huawei had already supplied over 250 national and inter-city transmission networks with its DWDM equipment.
On April 27, 2019, Telecom Egypt signed an agreement of strategic cooperation with the Chinese giant company Hengtong specialized in optic fiber cables manufacturing and deployment. As per the Hengtong press release, the company’s operations in Egypt started in 2011, and in 2012 it was the only Chinese company to enter the Egyptian telecommunications market. In 2014 Hengtong won a bid for the Optical Fiber Communications Network project in Egypt’s Presidential Palace.
In May 2018, Telecom Egypt signed with Huawei a $200 million dollars long-term financing (otherwise known as vendor financing) agreement provided by the Bank of China and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure). As per Telecom Egypt’s filing to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Huawei would contribute by providing competitive financing conditions so that Telecom Egypt can finance the establishment of the 4G network and develop its infrastructure networks, including the deployment of core and transport network technologies. The facility is extended for four years with a grace period of up to 2 years.
Mobinil (later Orange)
The Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil), has started to work with Huawei in 2005 on Softswitch trials and finished the first call on this test network. In 2006 Mobinil signed a contract with Huawei to expand its network’s capacity to 5 million potential customers.
Huawei’s relations with the UAE Etisalat predate the creation of Etisalat Misr. In October 2006 UAE Etisalat selected Huawei as its major supplier for the construction of its nationwide UMTS/HSPA network. When a consortium led by Etisalat won the rights to develop Egypt’s third mobile network, with a winning bid of 2,29 billion Euro, it almost came naturally, that Huawei was contracted beside Ericsson for building the new company’s network at a cost of about $1.2 billion dollars.
In September 2011, Etisalat Misr contracted ZTE to expand its network. This was the first phase of the expansion plan that both companies agreed to continue with its second phase in February 2012. According to the plan, ZTE would perform the supply, installation, and implementation of Software Defined Radio (SDR) Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) equipment and business support systems (BSS) solutions on a turnkey basis. The agreement also stipulated that both companies will extend the mutual strategic cooperation in other technology areas including microwave transmission, core networks, power solutions, and value-added services.
In March 2018, it was reported that Etisalat Misr and Huawei have completed verification of a new Huawei technology for the first time in the world. Huawei’s CloudAir GL15MHz spectrum dynamic sharing solution was verified on Etisalat Misr’s 1800MHz network in Cairo. This solution enables spectrum dynamic sharing between old GSM and new Long Term Evolution (LTE) standards, allowing enhancing the performance of both considerably, while mixing them within the same network, and additionally conserving frequency spectrum which is an extremely valuable resource.
In December 2018, it was reported that Etisalat Misr and Huawei deployed Frequency-division duplexing (FDD) Massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) solution over the 4G networks of Etisalat, for the first time in the MENA region, for the purpose of testing the technology. As tests’ results were encouraging Etisalat Misr decided to cooperate with Huawei in deploying the FDD Massive MIMO in more traffic hot-spot areas. As the Massive MIMO is one of the basic requirements for 5G networks.
In January 2019, Huawei and Talaat Mostafa Group signed a partnership agreement for strategic cooperation. As per the agreement, Huawei will work on developing the Group’s projects providing the digital infrastructure required for smart/safe cities technologies. The Talaat Mostafa Group CEO said Huawei’s work will cover all the Group’s projects including Al-Rehab and Madinty cities, The two parties have also agreed to jointly develop a project under the name Spine expanding over 4 million square meters in Madinty in New Cairo. The project includes residential, administrative, commercial, accommodation, and entertainment zones.
In September 2021, Huawei and Tatweer Misr signed an agreement for a strategic partnership. As per the agreement, Huawei will provide Tatweer Misr projects with digital technologies required for smart/safe cities.
In June 2022, Huawei announced that it has started implementing the digital services project in the New Administrative Capital. As per Huawei, the New Administrative Capital will be an advanced prototype for smart cities, and it will be a digital and connected city by the next year (2023). In a related context, Huawei recommended that the Egyptian Government should open bidding for the new 5G network licenses in the New Administrative Capital as a first phase to guarantee the success of the new network as the New Administrative Capital has the suitable digital infrastructure built with the latest technologies. A year ago (June 2021), a Huawei official said that his company aims to turn the New Administrative Capital into a smart and safe city.
Other ICT Infrastructure Projects
As early as July 2002, Huawei signed a contract with EgyNet, a data carrier, and an ISP, at the time, to provide it with broadband access product MA 5105. The MA5105 was supposed to enable EgyNet to deliver broadband services of Voice over IP (VoIP), Internet surfing, virtual private networks (VPN), and broadband pre-paid card services. Huawei would also provide its customized broadband solutions to address EgyNet’s present and future networking requirements.
In December 2016, a framework agreement was signed by the Chinese state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Banque Misr, for a $500 million loan. Later in April 2017 a subsidiary loan agreement of $100 million was signed between the two parties. The loans’ purpose is to increase the Egyptian bank’s liquidity and to finance one or more (unspecified) information and communications technologies (ICT) projects in the New Administrative Capital in Egypt, to be implemented by Huawei.
In November 2016 three Chinese tech companies, ZTE, Transsion, and Shenzhen Haoing – Megan, signed agreements for establishing 3 factories of electronics 2 in the Borg Al Arab Technology Park, and one in New Assiut Technology Park. ZTE’s plant manufactures peripheral devices such as “ADSL”, “Routers” and “Modems”. The factory is expected to produce one million devices in the first year, reach up to 60% of local manufacturing within 18 months of opening the plant and expand its exports to Arab and African markets. Transsion’s factory is to be constructed on an area of 5000 square meters for producing mobile phones, tablets, LED lighting products, and consumer electronics. Transsion also discussed future plans to open a center for research and development and a center for software development in Egypt.
In March 2018, an Egyptian-Chinese joint venture of Hitek-Nofal from Egypt, and Hengtong China’s biggest power and fiber optic cable maker, inaugurated a fiber optic cable factory in Badr city northeastern Cairo. The factory expands over 33,000 square meters, with 30 million dollars in investments, the Chinese company contributed 6 million of them in direct foreign investment, besides providing optical fiber and raw materials for products at the factory. It is planned to produce 8,000 km of fiber optic cables annually, meeting “the Egyptian market’s demand for fiber optic cables in 2018,” The Chinese official press agency Xinhua reported that “International researchers have estimated that the volume of the fiber optic market will grow up to 9 billion U.S. dollars by 2023, which means there will be huge opportunities for foreign investors in Egypt,” as per Hitek-Nofal CEO. The project was planned to export its products to African markets by the middle of 2019. CEO of Hitek-Nofal also said that they intend to double the factory’s production in two years, with the main objective of producing the cables’ core, the most difficult part of the manufacturing process and required highly-advanced technology. The Telecom Review site has also reported that the joint venture company plans to reach 80% of local components in the cable manufacturing process by 2021.
The plant has drawn special attention from the Chinese media. A report by the People newspaper Arabic site described the project as a “gate for deeper cooperation between the two countries.” The site tells the story of the plant’s building connecting it to the first visit of Egyptian President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi to China in 2014. In the same year, Hengtong won the bid for building the Optical Fiber Cables plant in Egypt. Three Chinese ministries offered their agreement to the project and provided help and support for the process of transporting the materials and equipment required for building the plant which was carried by two Egyptian planes from China to Egypt.
In July 2022, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Amr Talaat, inspected Vivo’s smartphone plant in the 10th of Ramadan City. The plant was constructed in a year over 11,000 square meters, with 20 million dollars in initial investments to be increased to 30 million dollars in a year. As per Vivo officials, the products of the plant have 45% local components. The company based in Dongguan, Guangdong, China, is a newcomer to the Egyptian market, as it launched its operations in this market around October 2019.
Education and Training
In September 2010, ZTE and the Egyptian National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) signed a grant agreement by which ZTE will set up a training and systems research development center at the NTI premises in the Smart Village. The center will be equipped with technical devices produced by ZTE, covering the fields of telecommunications, broadband networks, and LTE technology. ZTE will also offer training for NTI engineers and teaching staff at its headquarters in China. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by both Egypt’s minister of communications and information technology, at the time, Tarek Kamel, and the Chinese Minister of Industry and IT, at the time, Li Yizhong.
In December 2010, Huawei signed an agreement with MCIT for a project titled “Huawei Summer Camp” that was supposed to start in 2011. By this agreement, ten persons selected by MCIT from the CIT sector, either engineering fresh graduates or ministry employees, would join a camp prepared by Huawei in China for three weeks. The participants would get to know the position of Huawei, its capabilities, and the unique technologies it provides while visiting Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, where Huawei’s headquarters are located. Another agreement signed by Huawei was under the title “Government CIT Sector Training Project” described by the MCIT press release as a “culmination of the fruitful cooperation between Huawei and the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI). However, no further details were provided.”
In May 2011. during Cairo ICT 2011, the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) signed two agreements with Huawei. By the first agreement, NTI was certified as Huawei Authorized Network Academy (HANA). This included the establishment of an equipped laboratory to provide training programs in the networks domain, which later started training 2 of NTI calibers. The laboratory was inaugurated in January 2013 at NTI premises in Smart Village. As per the NTI director at the time, Huawei was to provide the necessary technical support which includes the advanced hardware required for the new laboratory as well as the educational content for the advanced training programs, in addition to providing Training of Trainers (ToT) programs for the NTI engineers and calibers. The second agreement was for organizing training programs for 100 university engineering graduates for two years to get acquainted with Huawei’s ICT technologies and help them find suitable job opportunities. Additionally, Huawei was to establish laboratories for 4G telecommunications technologies.
In August 2019, Telecom Egypt signed an agreement with Huawei with the aim of providing “modern communication use models, and Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications.” Additionally, both companies will establish a joint technology training center and an innovation lab. As per the agreement, Huawei will provide the required software, hardware, and ICT training courses., while Telecom Egypt will equip the lab with the necessary means of communication.
In July 2020, the MCIT-affiliated Applied Innovation Center (AIC) signed an agreement with the Chinese company iFLYTEK, whose purpose is to cooperate in implementing an R&D project for Natural Language Processing, and machine translation, depending on Artificial Intelligence. The project, throughout three years, aims to enhance Egyptian-Chinese cooperation by developing a bilingual Arabic-Chinese translation system to provide technical solutions for processing the Arabic language in Egyptian dialect and interpreting it to Chinese and vice versa.
In May 2022, Huawei and King Salman International University (KSIU) signed an MoU for establishing Huawei CIT Academy in the three branches of the university, in Tor, Sharm El Sheikh, and Ras Sudr. The MoU aims at integrating Huawei’s academic content in the areas of AI, Cloud, IoT, Big Data, and Networking in the university’s curriculum as well as providing the faculty with hands-on training on the latest technologies and trends in the ICT sector. It is also reported that Huawei has started the iTB Talent Bank project through which more than 75 Huawei academies were established in 45 public and private universities throughout Egypt. The academies have qualified more than 650 trainers for training more than 20,000 students, in addition to 8,000 students receiving international certificates. Huawei has also organized the 3rd edition of iTB Recruitment Expo (HiRE3) to offer suitable job opportunities for Huawei Academies graduates.
Equipment Supply for Other Projects
In December 2010, Huawei signed an agreement with both the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Luxor governorate for implementing an e-Learning project to improve the education levels in the governorate and promote CIT as both a means and target of education.
In August 2017 the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) signed contracts with five companies to supply 250,000 smart electricity meters to electricity distribution companies. Both ZTE and Huawei were among those companies. ZTE was to supply electric meters to South Delta for the Electricity Distribution Company, and Huawei was to supply electric meters to Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company.
The Egyptian Remote Education Project is a large and long-term project that has been funded by grants from the Chinese government represented by its Ministry of Commerce, which assigned its implementation to ZTE and China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC). The purpose of the project is to establish a distance learning network for the Egyptian Ministry of Education. The project’s network is designed to support courses, lectures, and teacher training activities. Two phases of the project have been completed by ZTE so far. The first was started in August 2002 and included 33 distance learning terminals in 27 Egyptian governorates, as well as connecting these terminals to a training center established in Mubarak Education City, in Giza. That phase was completed in March 2003. The second phase was started in January 2007 and was handed over by CITCC to the Egyptian General Authority For Educational Buildings in June of the same year. That phase expanded the network to 143 terminals. A third phase was planned for expanding, upgrading, and transforming the measures and technologies of the network to reach 200 terminals. ZTE signed a cooperation agreement with the Egyptian Ministry of Education in January 2018 for implementing phase 3, but it had not yet entered implementation.