By Mohamed Alaa Eldin
Microsoft has prepared studies for a number of important projects for the health sector and local municipalities to be presented to the Ministry of Communications, perhaps the most prominent of which is the Medical Records projects and a project to automate municipalities.
According to statements made by Khaled Abdel Kader, General Manager of Microsoft Egypt, to Daily News Egypt, the company is currently conducting a project for the Ministry of Investment to allow companies to be incorporated online and prepare an investment plan via the internet, as well as placing special emphasis on the educational sector, entrepreneurship, and SMEs in Microsoft’s plans.
What are Microsoft’s main plans for 2015?
We believe that the current year had promising beginnings and good indicators for the recovery of the telecommunications and IT market, and we will focus on a number of sectors, the most important of which is the software industry. We will also focus on our partners in SMEs and support entrepreneurship and start-ups, both within and outside the IT sector, as priorities.
Entrepreneurs always have innovative solutions and distinctive products, but they face difficulty in becoming well-known, which is the role that Microsoft undertakes. We will help these companies in several ways, including granting human resources development training, providing technological infrastructure, training them in marketing solutions to open new markets for their products, and provide mechanisms to help them reach their target consumers and ultimately contribute to the success of their ideas.
By the end of 2014, the Ministry of Communications announced a number of mega projects to be launched under the public private partnership (PPP) system. How do you think this will affect the Egyptian market?
The public private partnership system is in use in many foreign markets and it is one of the main solutions for implementing mega-projects at the lowest possible cost. This method is commonly used to implement infrastructure and IT projects.
These projects will have a positive impact on the telecom sector in that it will energise the market to restore natural growth rates, and it also carries a positive message for foreign investors. Perhaps the most important of these projects includes the deployment of high-speed broadband internet because it led to a boom in the telecom market in terms of value-added services and serve to increase the volume of government e-services. On the whole, the project will contribute to the provision of outsourcing services and software exports.
What is the volume of your investments in the Egyptian market?
We allocated more than EGP 150m by the end of 2011 for investments over a four year period due to the investment opportunities we noticed in the Egyptian market since January 2011.
What are the main sectors that Microsoft directs its investments to?
The health sector is the most important sector the company is interested in. The education sector is also very important and we hope to improve educational outcomes through the Millennium project to help students become more creative. This, in turn, grants students a different vision on the beginning of their working lives, which could help them form companies based on innovative ideas, such as the experience of WhatsApp, which was created by a group of young people. WhatsApp did not generate any income for them, but in the end they sold the application for tens of billions of dollars. Our goal at Microsoft is to contribute to the establishment of dozens of such companies, which are based on creative ideas.
What are your growth plans for 2015?
We have plans to become the number one company in terms of growth for 2015 among all Microsoft companies in the Middle East region, which will reflect positively on the Egyptian market. One study demonstrated that every $1 in revenues made by Microsoft, $8 in revenues are made by Egyptian companies.
What are the investment opportunities that you see in the Egyptian market in the near future?
There are many investment opportunities in the Egyptian market, such as IT infrastructure, which includes broadband projects, or the municipalities sector, and the company is currently preparing a study on automating municipalities, which will help eliminate corruption. In the coming phase, we will present a study to the Ministry of Communications on automating the Ministry of Justice and the courts.