Former PCCW Global executive leading Egypt’s data hub plan

Former PCCW Global executive to help lead Egypt’s global data hub strategy

11 June 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Egypt has appointed a prominent telecoms industry executive as its assistant minister for global information infrastructure – charged with implementing a policy outlined at a Capacity conference last year.

Mohamed Nasr Eldin Mohamed Ali (pictured) was head of subsea cable infrastructure at PCCW Global until last month, and will now work for Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

He will work on maximising Egypt’s returns from global infrastructure and investments in the telecoms companies operating in the country, said the MCIT.

Nasr Eldin has been a frequent participant at Capacity’s conferences. Last year at Capacity North Africa, in Cairo, he spoke about the PEACE cable, linking Pakistan with east Africa and Europe. The project was “one of the fastest cables I’ve ever worked on”, he told the conference.

Nasr Eldin will prepare a work plan for the MCIT and feasibility studies to attract mega data centres and internet traffic exchange centres, said the ministry in its announcement of his appointment. He will be responsible for implementing the state’s strategy, represented by MCIT, for transforming Egypt into a global data hub, an attraction and a host to the largest data centres.

That was a theme that came up a number of times at 2019 Capacity North Africa. Adel Hamed, CEO of Telecom Egypt, opened the conference by saying that Egypt is poised to become the African hub and the gateway to Africa.

Nasr Eldin worked for a decade for Telecom Egypt, finishing with a two-year spell as head of its international business unit before joining PCCW Global in March 2016.

At the MCIT he will be responsible for “maintaining Egypt’s strategic position as a safe path for submarine cables”, said the ministry. He will support “the extension of the global network to the neighbour countries” – again, a specific policy outlined at Capacity’s Cairo conference.

Nagui Anis Khalil, vice president of strategy and planning at Fiber Misr, said at that event that Egypt “is the second country in the world in terms of submarine cable connections”, but “we need to transform from just transit and build upon these cables. North Africa needs more internet exchanges and data centres to keep content in Africa.”