Building Information Systems and Rural Development in Egypt: The Learned Lessons
Building Information Systems and Rural Development in Egypt: The Learned Lessons<br />by<br />Mohamed H.A. NawarFaculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, Egypt<br />13th IAALD World Congress, <br />Montpellier, France<br />26-29/4/2010<br />
Contents<br /><ul><li>History of National General and Agricultural Censuses
Lessons learned</li></li></ul><li>Structure of Information System related to Agriculture & Rural Dev.<br />Institutional affiliation<br />Population.<br />CAPMAS<br />General<br />Censuses<br />MALR<br />Sect.<br />Agriculture<br />Expert System<br />MALR sp.<br />Technical support to actors<br />MALR sp.<br />VERCON<br />(IDSC)<br />National<br />Cabinet (IDSC)<br /> MLD<br />InformationCenters<br />Regional<br />Local<br />MLD<br />Activity<br />Level of and Targeted Sector<br />Exten. & Farmers<br />Researchers& Exten.<br />
History of National General and Agricultural Censuses<br /><ul><li>Modern decimal census systems was established as a base for national information systems since the nineteenth century.
The first recorded census was administered by a central agency in 1882 .
For the modern central national socio-economic development plans established in the socialist era during the late fifties and early sixties of the last century data needed were collected by the Central Agency of Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Its work to collect other kinds of data was mostly based on national sampling. However, it was the only authority liable to collect any kind of data and meanwhile control any field data collection by any other agency, organization or individual.</li></li></ul><li>History of National General and Agricultural Censuses (cont.)<br /><ul><li>Changes to the market economy early in the seventies of the last century and to a more liberal system as a result of the application of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in the late eighties release of data at national level became available but under special arrangements with CAPMAS.
ICT is widely used by CAPMAS for dissemination of basic national demographic data based on the censuses only the last two decades. </li></li></ul><li>History of National General and Agricultural Censuses (cont.)<br /><ul><li>The Agricultural Census (AC) in Egypt is executed periodically every 10 years since 1929 as an implementation for the international agreement that took place in Geneva in 1927.
The census aims at collecting data on the agricultural structure , which is not changed rapidly from year to another, to allow access to the special features of key variables for this structure.
Data of the AC are also used for the purposes of planning for economic and social development depending on its precise results and data.
The AC follows a method that guarantees getting results comparable with previous censuses at the national level and censuses of other countries.</li></li></ul><li>History of National General and Agricultural Censuses (cont.)<br /><ul><li>Agricultural decimal census is under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR).
Data processing and handling are used solely for planning purposes.
Efforts to modernize the information system of the agriculture sector is matched now with the establishment of digital data bases and smart cards to include any holding; i.e. land, animal or any agricultural enterprise.
This is to build a new accurate and dynamic system of information to adapt to the needs of dynamic local and world market systems.</li></li></ul><li>ICT Support for Decision Making<br /><ul><li>Initiative took place at the central level to build an information system to support the decision making process.
The Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) was established two decades ago at the national level for supporting the Cabinet in making accurate decisions. Now it becomes a think tank.
IDSC has its vision and mission and its own plan based on the cabinet needs. Data collected by or under supervision of IDSC became available for other users through a wide range of publications and dynamic databases using active ICT.
Similar IDSCs exit at all administrative levels from governorates through district local units. However, level of achievements differ.</li></li></ul><li>Emergence of the specialized information system for Rural Development<br /><ul><li>This project was part of a trilateral program initiated by the government in 2001 to encounter the problem of high rate of graduates’ unemployment.
This trend was coincided with the interest of the government to expand decentralization as well as its interest to develop and meanwhile modernize the information infrastructure in Egypt.
Two pillars were considered in establishment of this new system;
1) creating a new information environment and culture in favor of precision and accuracy at all levels of local communities; i.e. form the village to the governorates, and
2) alleviation of the severity of graduates’ unemployment problem through the vocational rehabilitation training on new knowledge and skills in IT that has higher employment demand. </li></li></ul><li>Emergence of the specialized information system for Rural Development (cont.)<br /><ul><li>With the launch of the first national program of rural development (SHROUK) in 1994 data available at the village level were found neither accurate nor updated enough to satisfy the needs for proper planning of development projects and programs.
This situation was coincided with launching of special national initiative of decentralization of local administration in 2001. The aim was to establish a system of local and village profiling while serving other political issues (mainly creating new jobs for unemployed new graduates of high schools and universities).</li></li></ul><li>Emergence of the specialized information system for Rural Development (cont.)<br /><ul><li>Data collected through the local information centers are incorporated in a national information system under the supervision of the Ministry of Local Development (MLD).
Human development reports prepared since 2003 and later are based mainly on the data collected by these local and village centers.
For the first time it became available to have HDI and HD reports at village level </li></li></ul><li>Other specialized information systems (The Expert System)<br /><ul><li>The Ministry of Agriculture and land reclamation (MALR) has adopted the expert systems as a modern tool for supporting development in the agricultural sector.
It initiated the Expert Systems for Improved Crop Management Project (ESICM) in 1989 in conjunction with both the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Central Laboratory for Agricultural expert Systems (CLAES) was established for this purpose. CLAES joined the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) in 1991.
Through development, implementation and evaluation of knowledge based decision support systems, CLAES helps producers in agriculture to optimize use of resources and maximize food production. This function is done indirectly through supporting the extension agents in their mission or through the direct application of the developed systems by capable farmers.</li></li></ul><li>Other specialized information systems(VERCON) <br />The Virtual Extension, Research and Communication Network (VERCON) was initiated first in Egypt through an FAO project.<br /><ul><li>It sought enhancing of the linkages among and within the human and institutional elements of agricultural research and extension systems.
It has the capability to connect geographically dispersed parties and meanwhile promote exchange of communication and large volume of data.
It has the capacity to activate interactive media for communication.
Its limitation is due to the accessibility barrier for those who have no ICT skills or related technical facilities (mostly the famers).</li></li></ul><li>Targeted Categories by the Sectoral Information Systems<br />VERCON<br />Research<br />Extension<br />Expert systems<br />Farmers<br />
Lessons learned<br /><ul><li>There is a dualism in the situation of information support for decision at the top for National decision makers and those on the lower level. This is related to the quality, reliability and depth of analysis.
Institutional setup of the structure and management of information centers (ICs)seem crucial to the efficiency and sustainability of ICs.
Various indicators of accessibility, quality, affordability, institutional efficiency and sustainability as well as ICT applications reveal that a digital divide still exists within the country.
There is still much room for improvement to narrow the digital gap of the information system in agriculture and rural affairs.
Areas for future interventions, expanding ICT connectivity, particularly to rural communities; reinforcing the quality of ICT education and training; and developing and uploading Arabic e-content online.</li></li></ul><li>Thanks for Your Attention<br />