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Address by IDA CEO at the Unveiling Ceremony of Singapore-Egypt Joint Issue on Significant Rivers - Singapore River and the Nile

17 October 2011 - Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the unveiling ceremony of Singapore-Egypt joint issue on significant rivers - Singapore River and the Nile

Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the unveiling ceremony of Singapore-Egypt joint issue on significant rivers - Singapore River and the Nile, 17 October 2011, Clarke Quay, 6.00pm

His Excellency Mr Nasser Hamdy,
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt;

Ambassador V P Hirubalan
Director, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia Directorate,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr Lim Ho Kee, Chairman, Singapore Post Limited

Mr Wolfgang Baier, Group Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Post Limited;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good evening. I am happy to be here today together with SingPost at the unveiling ceremony of the inaugural Singapore-Egypt joint stamp issue on Significant Rivers - Singapore River and The Nile.

2. Singapore and Egypt enjoy warm and long-standing relations. Our ties with Egypt go back to 1965, when Egypt was the first Arab country to recognise Singapore's independence and it was also the first Middle Eastern country that Singapore established diplomatic relations with in November 1966. Since then, bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength.

3. In the domain of infocomm technology, both Singapore and Egypt have had extensive exchanges in the area of e-Government and telecommunications. For example, we at the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) were happy to host a visit from Egypt's Information Technology Institute in December last year and share about our ICT manpower landscape and professional development programmes.

4. As this year marks the 45th anniversary on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, it is fitting that we come together to commemorate our ties with this joint stamp issue. Today, even as this joint stamp issue is taking place here, Singapore's Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim is in Egypt to commemorate this momentous occasion with his Egyptian counterpart, Dr Mohamed Salem, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, at a ceremony which will take place in a few hours' time. The stamp issue is also a groundbreaking one as it is the first major stamp collaboration between Singapore Post and Egypt Post. It follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by SingPost and Egypt Post in March 2010 to increase co-operation in the field of postal services and increase the exchange of information and experience, with the aim of improving postal services in general and fostering greater relations between the two organisations. I hope that there will continue to be such co-operation between Egypt and Singapore in the future, especially in the postal and infocomm technology sectors.

5. The stamp issue interestingly depicts the two significant rivers of Egypt and Singapore. Historically, when Singapore was founded in 1819, trade, commerce and finance activities sprang up on the banks of the river, enabling Singapore to flourish as an entrepot. Today, the Singapore River continues to play an important role in Singapore's landscape, with many bustling food and commercial activities found along it.

6. Similarly, the Nile, the longest river in the world, has been the lifeline of civilisation in Egypt for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Greek historian Herodotus described Egypt as the gift of the Nile. Flowing northwards into the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile irrigates Egypt's rich agricultural lands. The Nile has indeed sustained major population centres living beside it for a very long time.

7. Therefore, both the Nile and the Singapore River have played a key role in the history and development of Egypt and Singapore respectively. I believe that this stamp issue will be a treasured and special one for stamp collectors, as well as for all those who are interested in the important role of the two rivers in the two countries over the years.

8. With that, I would like to congratulate all the organisations involved for making this event possible. I wish everyone a pleasant evening ahead.

9. Thank you.