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Egypt’s parliament has passed data protection legislation as the country sets its sights on building datacentres and attracting foreign investment.
The country’s personal data protection law, which has been introduced to protect the personal data of Egypt’s citizens and residents, is an important stepping stone in its plans to develop a datacentre industry.
Amr Talaat, minister of communications and information technology, said the law “supports the diligent efforts exerted by the ministry to protect citizens’ and residents’ personal data”.
Talaat said it was an important step in supporting Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency’s plans to “create a safe environment for the circulation of information in the cyber space”.
The legislation became law after receiving Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el Sisi’s approval.
According to a report in Egypt Today, the law prohibits gathering or processing individuals’ data or spreading them by any means without the permission of the individuals concerned, except in cases authorised legally.
Talaat said an Egyptian datacentre industry would contribute to the growth of the economy by attracting foreign investment.
The government highlighted Egypt’s connectivity to other regions via submarine cables, which it said “helps create promising opportunities for many Egyptian and international companies to start implanting this industry in Egypt”.
It said the country has an abundant supply of electricity, which is an essential to power hungry datacentres.
The Egyptian government’s Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy set goals to increase the contribution of renewable energy to 20% of the country’s electricity power mix by 2022, and 42% by 2035.
This is part of a wider plan to expand the country’s IT infrastructure and the availability of digital services. A communications and information technology ministry statement said: “The ministry is working on implanting a datacentre industry as part of the state’s efforts for boosting the development of the ICT infrastructure and digital services, through improving the work environment, supporting decision-making and finding solutions to society issues.”
In June Egypt’s IT development agency announced it was offering 100,000 young people free online tech training as part of its strategy to increase the availability of local talent. The free online scholarship, from not-for-profit company Udacity, will help youngsters prepare for future careers.
Hala El-Gohary, interim CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency at the time, said: “With the strong momentum towards going all-digital, we are offering our youth a unique virtual academy with free nano-degree programmes.”