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    PM Nazif Receives Microsoft CEO, and Witnesses Bilateral Agreement Signing

    Cairo, 22 April 2009

    Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif received today – in the presence of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel - Microsoft Corp. CEO Mr. Steve Ballmer during his one-day visit to Egypt.

    The two parties discussed Microsoft's investments in Egypt in the upcoming phase and the company's wish to develop its partnership with the State in several fields like information and communication technology (ICT), skill development, education, health, transport and e-government.  

    Minister Kamel said Mr. Ballmer's visit (his second since 2006) at this time reflected Microsoft's interest in the progress Egypt had realized in ICT as well as the growth achieved in other sectors, which had a great impact on the country's socio-economic development.

    Dr. Kamel added that the visit confirmed the international companies' keenness to pursue their investments in Egypt, despite the Global Financial Crisis. A number of recent international reports, he noted, described the Egyptian market as witnessing sustained development, especially with the availability of well-trained human resources.   

    On his part, Mr. Ballmer said Egypt had all the technological talents integrated with institutional skills. According to him, with a population of 80 million people, the country has a great growth potential.

    Mr. Ballmer further noted that Microsoft Egypt had achieved key steps with the Egyptian Government's support through public-private partnerships, which led to automating work cycles at governmental organizations.

    Following the meeting, Premier Nazif witnessed the signing of a framework convention between the Egyptian Government and Microsoft Corp. The agreement was signed by Dr. Kamel, Minister of State for Administrative Development Dr. Ahmed Darwish, Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa Vice President Mr. Ali Faramawy and General Manager of Microsoft Egypt Mr. Karim Ramadan.

    The agreement facilitates additional benefits for Egypt including the re-investment of part of the company's revenue in the local market, which will positively contribute to raising the Egyptian market's competence locally and internationally. Also software programs will be offered at lower prices in a bid to support the development of this industry and spread it locally.

    Besides offering new job opportunities to the Egyptian youth, Egypt's status in preserving intellectual property rights and fighting software piracy will be improved on the international arena. This will, in turn, encourage more companies to invest in Egypt.

    As part of the framework convention, Dr. Nazif witnessed the signing of an agreement on enterprise resource planning (ERP) signed by Dr. Kamel, Minister of Transport Dr. Mohamed Mansour, Mr. Ballmer, Mr. Faramawy and Mr. Ramadan. The agreement - which aims at raising the potential and productivity of Egyptian companies - is beneficial to several transport sectors.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Kamel and Mr. Ballmer attended the Microsoft Innovation Day in Egypt. More than 500 programmers took part in the event where Mr. Ballmer gave a speech, demonstrating the company's global strategy of research and development (R&D) and its interest in supporting Egyptian innovators. 

    Three projects developed in Egypt through the Cairo Microsoft Innovation Center (CMIC) were showcased during the event.

    In addition, the attendees hailed the winning team in the local Imagine Cup that will represent Egypt in the international competition finals due in July. The teams belong to Ain Shams University, Zagazig University and the American University in Cairo (AUC). The contest will be held under the auspices of the First Lady Mrs. Suzan Mubarak.

    In another development, Mr. Ballmer met representatives of Egypt's business community, especially ICT companies. More than 700 businessmen interested in the field were present in the meeting.

    Dr. Kamel spoke at the meeting about the special history of partnership between the Egyptian Government and Microsoft Corp. that kicked off in 2001 between Dr. Nazif, at the time he was the Minister of Communications and IT, and Bill Gates.

    Microsoft was the first international company to operate in the Smart Village in 2003. It was also one of the first companies investing in Egypt in the field of business process outsourcing (BPO) by establishing a center for exporting its services in cooperation with Xceed Contact Center. 

    Additionally, Microsoft Corp. contributed to the Egyptian Education Initiative (EEI) in cooperation with Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. More than 80 teachers acquired basic IT skills through the EEI. The company has contributed to the project of developing 100 schools across Egypt undertaken under the patronage of the First Lady.

    Minister Kamel highlighted the company's support of the Cyber Peace Initiative (CPI) in collaboration with the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement by organizing a number of international contests like Imagine Cup. Youth from more than 100 countries are expected to engage in the competition this year. 

    Dr. Kamel pointed out that the ICT sector's growth rate in Egypt is satisfactory compared to other countries. He added that there are promising investment opportunities in mobile applications in Egypt.

    New initiatives will be carried out cooperatively among Microsoft, MCIT and the operators to develop mobile applications in Arabic. A new specialized team will be allocated for implementing the initiative from the Microsoft Innovation Center in the Smart Village in cooperation with Egyptian companies operating in this field.

    The executive process will kick off within months by training a number of calibers and companies while setting new economic models to support mobile applications in the different sectors.

    About the Microsoft Activities in Egypt:  
    • Microsoft Corp. has been carrying out several initiatives cooperatively with MCIT, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Ministry of Health.

    • Microsoft has contributed to training more than 80,000 teachers on The Unlimited Potential program and The Innovative Teachers Network, which help educators merge technology with the educational process.

    • The company has contributed to training a large number of students on the Junior Developer Program. The program provides early training on fundamental programming concepts and creative thinking via Microsoft technologies.

    • Microsoft has effectively taken part in upgrading 100 schools under the auspices of Mrs. Mubarak. The project – implemented in Cairo, Giza, Luxor and other governorates, is supervised by Heliopolis Services Development Society.

    • Microsoft Corp. has been an efficient participant in the process of disseminating the culture of peace through the Cyber Peace Initiative (CPI), since it was first launched in Sharm El-Sheikh in September 2007 by The Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement. Microsoft offered training to parents and students at schools, universities and public libraries in this domain. The company has helped Arabize content related to the culture of the safe use of the internet, training educators on how to safely use the web.

    • The CPI – in cooperation with Microsoft – visited more than 10 Egyptian universities as part of preparing for the Imagine CUP competition. The event will be held on July 9th, 2009 in Cairo under the patronage of Mrs. Mubarak.

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