Government official: IT exports to hit $1 billion by 2010

Ahmed A. Namatalla
3 Min Read

SECC looks to export its services to Gulf market

CAIRO: Egyptian information technology (IT) sector exports are on track to reach $1 billion (LE 5.71 billion) by 2010, Gamal Aly, chairman of the government s Software Engineering Competence Center (SECC) said.

Aly s comments came upon his return from the annual Dubai Gitex Expo, a convention bringing together the largest regional and global IT companies. Current IT exports, mostly represented in services such as call centers, account for about $700 million (LE 4 billion) or about 6 percent of total exports.

Aly attended the conference in hopes of promoting the center s training and consulting services to Gulf markets.

SECC is a government entity established in 2001 to promote and develop the country s IT industry, specifically the software sector. The organization has gained prominence since then as it joined the government s Information Technology Industry Development Agency in 2005. And, in 2006, SECC became the first Middle Eastern partner to the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University to provide training and appraisal services.

Despite several attempts by The Daily Star Egypt, Aly could not be reached for comment.

In 2006, IT sector performance was boosted by several events including the entrance of British telecom giant, Orange, into the market with plans to establish its first call center in the Middle East in City Stars offices. No launch date has been set yet, though company sources say it could be as soon as 1Q 2007.

There are many advantages to setting up our offices here instead of India for example, one Orange official told The Daily Star Egypt. He declined to be identified because no formal statement has been made by the company yet. Location is one. And there are plenty of native graduates with the ability to speak English well. The Indian market, on the other hand, has become saturated.

The year also witnessed the first visit of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to announce two new projects in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental entities.

Continued expansion of the Smart Village has also attracted more investment from foreign companies, including Microsoft. The location is home to one of Microsoft s two Innovation Centers for Applied Research outside of the United States. The other center is located in Germany. And while Ballmer said the company does not hold plans for software production in Egypt, he said will continue to rely on the center to conduct software research which can then be applied to product development internationally.

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