Analysis

Egypt On

Eng. Yasser ElKady, CEO, ITIDA

The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) of Egypt was in Dubai for GITEX Technology Week 2011 and took the time to discuss its role in the development of the nation’s ICT industry with a particular focus on BPO. Pallavi Sharma reports.

At GITEX Technology Week 2011, ITIDA or the Information Technology Industry Development Agency announced the launch of the e-Signature competence centre to simplify processes surrounding the adoption of Digital Identification services and e-citizen services.

In recent years, Egypt has made commendable efforts in developing an SMB-comprised local ICT industry, and ITIDA has played no small part in the mushrooming growth of this remarkable business sector.

Eng. Yasser ElKady, CEO, ITIDA said, “The new centre is a milestone for Egypt as it represents the knowledge we are keen to share with our partners in the Gulf region. The first of its kind across the Middle East and North Africa region, the centre aims to provide significant support and services to public sector enterprises across the region. The centre will focus on the implementation of e-government initiatives and digital identity projects in a secure and safe way. ITIDA will work towards generating
awareness about public key infrastructure (PKI) for the robust functioning of
e-government services. IT will do so through tailored programs in English and Arabic to enable knowledge transfer and training as a means of empowering prospect clients in the public or the private sectors.”

ITIDA is the executive IT arm of the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technology, Egypt. Led by Eng. Elkady, ITIDA extends a helping hand to businesses and provides the Egyptian IT industry with the right tools to increase exports in the IT and ITES sectors.

Initially launched by the Egyptain government in 2004, ITIDA was to solely focus on the standardisation of processes surrounding the development and adoption of e-signature technology,

Today, ITIDA is also responsible for the development of the local ICT industry in Egypt, by incubating and setting up small and medium sized local IT companies that provide a range of services from automated software to outsource providers.

According to Ahmed Reda, media and international relations manager at ITIDA, the
agency’s primary role is in helping local IT companies showcase their applications and services in the larger international market.

“We have subsidised about 85% of the costs to for over 70 Egyptian IT organisations  that include automated software development companies, mobile application development businesses, data warehousing providers among many others to showcase their products and services at GITEX 2011,” he said.

In addition to this, the agency works towards encouraging foreign direct investment in the Egyptian ICT market and aids in the development of local ICT talent pool in the country.

When asked about how ITIDA contributes to the growth of the local ICT talent pool, Reda said, “We have a global programme called Edu Egypt that allows us to go into
schools and universities, and initiate an active study of IT as part of the annual curriculum to ensure that students have the key skills they need when they graduate.”

Reda added that Edu Egypt is running in its third year and has already generated
13000 graduates as part of this programme. ITIDA is now looking to focus on the local development of ICT in the larger African and Middle East region. The agency recently announced that it would train 3000 citizens of Uganda in the concept of outsourcing to kick start the industry in the country.

ITIDA also contributes to the growth of Egypt’s position as a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) destination.

“Egypt currently ranks fourth in the global BPO industry, earning annual revenues of
$1.1 billion. ITIDA is backed by the Egyptian government in their efforts to build an infrastructure friendly to outsourcing and equip local companies to meet international standards. We expect that this combined effort will help the local BPO industry revenue reach the $10 billion mark by 2010,” he concluded.

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