WHY IS EGYPT AN ATTRACTIVE LOCATION FOR MULTINATIONAL ICT COMPANIES?
Egypt's successful efforts to carve a niche as a regional hub for technology and innovation, and attract multinational ICT companies are explored by four key industry players in interviews they gave recently to Oxford Business Group's online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.
Alexandre Froment-Curtil, CEO, Vodafone Egypt; Frances Woodworth, Deputy Site Leader, Orange Business Services Egypt; Reem Asaad, CEO, Raya Contact Centre; and Ahmed Osama, Innovation Manager, Dell Technologies Centre of Excellence, discussed a wide range of topical issues, including the country's competitive advantages and the diversification under way within the local ICT sector.
A national drive to support Egypt's young population by equipping them with the qualifications and skills they need to participate in the industry's development met with approval from the executives interviewed. "We're seeing lots of great talent that comes out of universities, bringing plenty of innovative mindsets," Osama said. "It's not just in artificial intelligence and the latest technologies, but it's even in the traditional way of doing business." Woodworth agreed, noting the growing contribution that Egypt's increasing youthful workforce was making to the industry. "When we look at the labour market, the resource pool, each year more than one half million [technical] professionals are introduced into the job market," she said. "What's also very helpful is the engagement of the government in supporting multinational companies."
Froment-Curtil told viewers that the country's young, tech-savvy population also provided businesses with a promising consumer base. "Vodafone has been present in Egypt for the last 20 years," he said. "So obviously it is a place where we believe that our investment makes sense across the world. But also, fundamentally, it has a young dynamic population full of energy and that's brilliant for a digital world." "Today we have about 6700 employees dedicated to serving the rest of the world in two main activities. The first is everything that has to do with contact centres. Serving markets like Germany, the UK and Italy. The second activity is actually a technology activity. We host here Vodafone's worldwide centre of excellence on technology". Vodafone Egypt CEO added.
"Things such as RPA (robotics process automation) are being done out of Egypt for the rest of the world. Smart cities are being designed, built and operated here in Egypt for the rest of Europe, so many activities where you can see that it's really the technical hub happening in Egypt.", Froment-Curtil told OBG. Egypt's strategic location, which enables it to act as a hub for EMEA region, along with the government support, and the role ITIDA plays as an executive IT arm and one-stop-shop for investment attraction and support, were also noted by the business leaders.
Asaad informed viewers that from the 110 clients being serviced locally, close to 80% are based offshore. "We can scale all the languages you can imagine out of Egypt," she said. "I can service my clients with 25 languages: German; English; Dutch; Polish; and Zulu."
Marc-Andre de Blois, OBG's director of PR and Video Content, said it was clear that the executives interviewed had high hopes for Egypt's ICT industry.
"Egypt's ease of doing business and prime global positioning have long been a draw for investors," he said. "Our video shows that the decision to focus on education and training, and increase government support for the sector, is delivering the desired results."