Egypt Looks to Attract Indian Tier-II tech Cos

by Abhinna Shreshtha    Feb 09, 2010

Indian IT giants such as Wipro and Satyam already have a presence in Egypt, but now the land of the pharaohs is looking to attract even smaller organizations.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Nasscom India Leadership Summit 2010, Hossam Megahed, board member of ITIDA said they were in talks with tier-II tech organizations from India, for establishing a presence in the middle-east.

Asked about what a relative new entrant like Egypt could learn from the Indian tech industry, Megahed said, "India is a model for us, for any country, that wants to work in the BPO/ITeS sector. Collaborations is important in today’s business scenario and we are looking to learn all we can from our Indian counterparts since they have already gone through this stage. For example, we have started an education initiative to churn out better skillsets, and there are a couple of Indian companies participating in it."

So can Egypt become a competitor to India somewhere in the future? Megahed laughed of this suggestion. "You must understand that if a fairly large Indian IT company wanted, it could hire the entire IT talent pool of Egypt! It is a matter of size. We look at India as a leader than as a competitor."

Megahed further praised the Indian IT industry for having a dynamic and innovative outlook. "Every year I see that the Indian industry is not just sticking to traditional outsourcing models. They are moving up the value chain - I mean into areas like innovation and R&D outsourcing. This is a smart move being made by the Indian tech industry."

The Egyptian IT industry underwent a major revamp in 2005, when the government setup the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), the Egyptian equivalent of Nasscom. That the move bore fruits is evident from the fact that IT exports from Egypt have increased from $150 million in 2005 to $1.2 billion currently. Apart from this nearly 15000 IT and BPO jobs have been created in the past 2-3 years.

Since the past two years, Egypt has emerged as a major BPO/IT outsourcing destination for organizations looking for a presence in the Middle-east. In fact, it was even awarded the Outsourcing Destination of the Year at the National Outsourcing Association’s 2008 Awards held in London.

Speaking about the value propositions that Egypt offers, Megahed opined that strong multilingual capabilities (with capabilities in Arabic, English, French, German, Portugese, and Spanish), a cultural and geographical advantage, and strong support from the government for IT growth were the main factors driving IT services growth in the country.