Tarek Kamel was Senior Advisor to ICANN's President and Senior Vice President for Government and Intergovernmental Organization Engagement. He was an Egyptian expert in global Internet Governance. He was the father of the Internet in Egypt.
In August 2012, ICANN appointed Tarek Kamel to serve as a Senior Advisor to its President. He was the first such advisor from a developing country to take a leading role in ICANN's senior management. Prior to joining ICANN, he was a board member of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt from April 2011 to July 2012.
Kamel served as the Minister of Communication and Information Technology from July 2004 to February 2011, where he was responsible for the reform of the ICT sector and the development of telecom services and the Internet industry in Egypt. Kamel joined the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology during its formation in October 1999 and was appointed Senior Advisor to the Minister following his pioneering efforts in ICT. He was a board member of Telecom Egypt from 2000 to 2004 and a board member of Egypt's Private Public Technology Development Fund (TDF), which supports startups and incubators in ICT, from 2002 to 2004.
Kamel started his career as a network support engineer for the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, then an assistant researcher at the Electronics Research Institute. After earning a Ph.D., Kamel became the manager of the Communications and Networking Department at the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC/RITSEC) and gained a professorship at the ERI. From 1992 to 1999, he established Egypt's first connection to the Internet, steered the introduction of commercial Internet services in Egypt, and founded the Internet Society of Egypt.
In addition to being the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Kamel was the Chairman of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI), and the Information Technology Institute’s (ITI) Boards of Trustees.
Kamel was known for his visionary strategy in driving and developing Egypt's ICT sector and leading Egypt into the global Information Society. He led many national initiatives to increase Internet and broadband penetration across Egypt. He was a key proponent of Egypt's programs to reform and deregulate the telecommunications sector.
Kamel played a pivotal role in developing the ICT-enabled O&O (outsourcing and offshoring) industry in Egypt. During his tenure as a Minister, he led local and global teams to formulate and implement a national strategy to position Egypt as a regional role model in call centers, Business Process Outsourcing, Knowledge Process Outsourcing, and Innovation based services. The strategy implementation occurred in a public-private partnership and included the buildup of business parks, the development of a large talent pool, the establishment of business incubators and VCs as well as the development of the environment for entrepreneurship and business development necessary to attract global players to invest in Egypt. The yield on Egypt’s socioeconomic process has been remarkable in youth employment, GDP, and exports growth.
Kamel served as a member of the Internet Society (ISOC) Board of Trustees in Virginia and as Vice President for Chapters from 1999 to 2002. He was a founding member and a previous board member of AfriNIC. He acted as Chairman of the Executive Bureau of the Arab Telecommunications and Information Council of Ministers from 2004 to 2008 and the Chairman of the Ministerial Conference on Communication and Information Technologies of the African Union from 2006 to 2008. In recognition of his leadership in the ICT sector, the South African Ministry of Communications named him in 2005, "Top Minister in Africa with an ICT Portfolio."
Dr. Tarek Kamel Award for Capacity Building
On January 27, 2020, ICANN announced a new award in honor of Kamel. The award recognizes ICANN community members who have made a significant effort in developing capacity in fulfillment of ICANN's mission. It is presented annually to one individual during ICANN's Annual General Meeting, which is held in the fourth quarter each year.
Kamel graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University with a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and then completed an M.Sc. in the same school in Electrical Engineering. From 1989 to 1992, he pursued his Ph.D. (Dr.-Ing.) in Germany at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the Technical University of Munich with the support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Kamel was very deeply involved in Internet Governance and was well known for his contribution to the Multistakeholder Model. He hosted several IGF, ICANN, and ITU regional and international events in Egypt.
Tarek Kamel was born in Cairo, Egypt, on May 8, 1962, and passed away on October 10, 2019. His mother tongue was Arabic, but he was also fluent in English and German and could speak French fairly well. He was married to Iman El Azab, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cairo University, and had two children, Omar (born 1995) and Heba (born 1998).