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Egypt: Building on stability for growth
by Yasser ElKady, CEO, ITIDA
Friday, September 21, 2012

The recent appointment of a new democratically elected president and prime minister is important to ITIDA because Egypt is being acknowledged as an attractive and dynamic destination for investors once more– a fact that is bound to help Egypt’s outsourcing industry.

For instance, new investments expanded and increased employment in the BPO-ITO sector by 41% in the past 18 months. HP, for example, has expanded its presence in the region and major multinationals including France Telecom and Intel have moved in and grown their Egyptian operations. Vodafone already has call centers in Egypt, and the Vodafone Ventures Fund (VVF) plans to invest more than US$ 3 million into 10 – 15 start-up companies working in technology and communications. VVF will provide the technical and technological support services for these companies through an incubation center at Vodafone’s headquarters in Smart Village, Cairo. 

The Egyptian IT Service providers have been maintaining healthy growth margins as well, the data from the last round of Export IT Rebate program announced in January 2012, showed that 76 of the Egyptian providers are actively exporting to 80 countries, serving more than 500 clients, including more than 45 of the Fortune 1000, Forbes 2000, and Arab 100 companies.

I have been the CEO of ITIDA for nearly two years now, and I still find it exciting working for an organization that is driving Egypt’s IT outsourcing industry - because there is simply so much opportunity for growth in the region based on Egypt’s value proposition.

Egypt wants to offer foreign investors an abundance of world-class IT talent and a strong IT infrastructure, in an ideal geographical location at competitive prices.

I am experiencing a real sense of confidence in Egypt’s proposition right now. However, while Egypt’s future looks positive, there is still much work to be done, both at home and abroad.  President Morsi’s administration is focused on economic and business policies that will revitalize investment.  For example, the Government is committed to spending US$ 500 million on developing and modernizing Egypt’s network - so that the country can deliver fourth generation broadband connectivity.

Last week, Thomas Nides, the US Deputy Secretary of State for management and resources brought a high profile delegation of US officials and business people to Smart Village, promising more US investments in the region. With the Egyptian Minister for Communications and Information Technology, I had the privilege of attending talks with the delegates around what those investments might be, and we certainly have a number of attractive opportunities in the pipeline. 

This endorsement from Secretary Nides, is exactly the support Egypt needs right now.  After a period of uncertainty we are back, stronger than ever, and doing great work with our international business partners.

Jamal Muharram, the President of American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, also used the visit to confirm that IBM wants to expand its existing IT operations in Egypt and that nearly a hundred US businesses are currently looking at investing in the country.

I am also spreading the word, attending forums and conferences in Europe and North America talking about why Egypt is an attractive outsourcing destination.  There is certainly a buzz about the new direction of our country, and I welcome you to come to Egypt to see it for yourself.

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