Egypt is looking to capitalize on the innovative opportunities that information and communications technology (ICT) offer rather than restricting expansion in the sector solely to traditional areas of business.
Tarek Kamel, the country’s Minister for Communications, Information and Technology, said the government’s innovation strategy, which is due to be launched later this year, would mirror initiatives such as the recently-established entrepreneurship and innovation centre in Smart Village, the Technology Cluster and Business Park in Egypt.
“We will take the necessary steps to be an alternative location for investment in intellectual capital, solidifying our positioning at a higher segment of the value-chain,” he said. “Egypt will look to be branded by much more than just business process outsourcing and call centre services. We will endeavour to use innovation as a primary driver for future growth.”
Kamel was speaking exclusively to Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm. The interview appears in OBG’s forthcoming business guide, The Report: Egypt 2010, together with detailed business intelligence on the country’s macroeconomics, infrastructure, political landscape, banking and sectoral developments.
With investors set to turn their attention towards untapped areas of business, Kamel highlighted the need to step up the pace of broadband penetration across the country. “Boosting broadband is certainly one of our priority areas,” he said. “We aim to increase broadband penetration from 10% to between 25% and 30% in the next three or four years.”
Kamel was confident that the inevitable progression from telecommunications to new areas of growth, such as value-added services and software development, signaled a wealth of fresh opportunities, most notably in the creation of digital Arabic-language content. But he acknowledged that Egypt’s ICT sector needed to prepare itself to do business on a global level.
“Information technology networks must prepare a strategy for capacity building and work together to tackle regulatory challenges and barriers which exist in pursuit of fully-fledged open market environment,” he said