11 May 2008
ITU Telecom Africa 2008 Kicks Off

 ITU Telecom Africa 2008 held from 11–15 May opens its doors today at Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Prime Minister and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel along with ministers of defense, information, investment, education and scientific research and more than 40 communications and IT ministers from around the world witnessed the opening ceremony.

Dr. Kamel presented the major tracks of the ITU Telecom Africa 2008 Forum and Exhibition and the potential cooperation with African countries in the information and communications technology (ICT) field.

Track One: Exporting ICT Services
Minister Kamel presented Egypt’s strategy of exporting $1.1 billion by the year 2010 relying on the country’s pool of qualified calibers. It has been planned that 50,000 job opportunities will be created in that domain by 2010. Moreover, Minister Kamel introduced Egypt’s role as a leading ICT services exporter to Africa.

The CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), Dr. Hazem Abdel-Azim and ITIDA Board Member Mr. Amin Khair-Allah highlighted models of new companies exporting technological services.

CEO of the French Teleperformance Egypt Mr. Yannis Scordilis presented the company’s experience in Egypt. By the end of 2008, Teleperformance is expected to offer 1000 job opportunities to Egyptian calibers to reach 2250 within the coming three years.

Also Mr. Wael Farag, representative of the French Valeo company in Egypt, talked about the company’s experience in the Egyptian market. Valeo is foreseen to facilitate 250 job opportunities for Egyptian ICT engineers by the end of 2008. Valeo has chosen Egypt to be the venue for its sole center worldwide that works on designing, producing and selling automobile components and modules.

During the inauguration, Vodafone Egypt CEO Richard Daly shed light on the company’s call center through which it exports services to its clients in New Zealand. The center’s services will soon reach new clients in England. The company depends on 600 well-trained Egyptian employees and plans to expand the number to 3000 ones by end of 2010.

Track Two: IT and Education
First Deputy to CIT Minister, Dr. Hoda Baraka gave a comprehensive presentation on the strategic policy of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to develop the educational process via the utilization of IT in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and that of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Minister of Education Dr. Yousri Al-Gamal and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Hani Helal presented the project developments nationwide. Also a number of projects have been carried out cooperatively with the African New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Organization as a distinguished model of a public-private partnership.
Dr. Hoda Baraka presented a new initiative for the first time. The initiative aims at upgrading pre-university education via the use of ICT in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. It goes in line with the conference on developing pre-university education. The initiative includes automating all the 1687 public pre-university schools nationwide where almost one million students are enrolled. The program, to be finalized by 2010, costs about LE150 million.

Track Three: Technology Parks
ITIDA Vice President Ms. Zeinab Zaki and Head of Smart Village Company Eng. Raouf Abdel-Maseeh showcased for the first time a mockup of the first contact center park. The park is being established in Maadi district cooperatively between MCIT and the Ministry of investment. It is the first investment zone to be established based on the recent amendment of the Investment Law for May 2007.

Spanning a 75 acre-space, the two-phase project will highly contribute to the development of the Egyptian call center industry. With a total cost of LE170 million, the first phase includes the foundation of three buildings and the entire infrastructure. It is expected to facilitate about 9000 job opportunities. The new technology zone in south-east Cairo will be complementing the Smart Village project in west Cairo. The location has been carefully chosen to be close to main roads linking it to downtown Cairo. 

After the success of the Smart Village project in Egypt, negotiations are underway in Gambia and Nigeria to implement similar projects, which opens new horizons abroad for Egyptian companies.

Track Four: Mobile and its Applications
National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) Executive President Dr. Amr Badawy presented the last figures of mobile subscribers in Egypt, reaching 33 million. Dr. Badawy also highlighted the local and international LE 50 million-investment volume attracted to the Egyptian market in this field. The increase of ICT investments in Egypt, especially mobile, according to him, exceeded 50%.

Orascom Telecom CEO and Chairman Eng. Naguib Sawiras presented the company’s investments in Africa in the mobile field and the expansion opportunities and plans in the upcoming phase.

 A presentation was given by Egyptian Banks Company Chairman Dr. Mohamed Maged on the latest e-commerce applications via the mobile phone.

GSM Association (GSMA) CEO Rob Conway, meanwhile, announced during the inauguration granting Egypt’s telecom sector this year’s award for development in liberation policies and investments boosting. 

Founded in 1987, The GSM Association (GSMA) is a global trade association representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 international territories and countries. More than 180 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as associate members.

Track Five: Human Resources Development in IT
National Telecommunications Institute (NTI) Director Dr. Ahmed El-Sherbini showcased the cooperation between Egypt and African countries in specialized training and human resources development. For the fourth consecutive year, the NTI offered a three-week specialized ICT training program for 20 engineers from 10 African countries funded by MCIT.

In addition, Information Technology Institute (ITI) Chairman Dr. Mohamed Salem gave a detailed presentation on the ITI training programs serving the software export plan. The programs meet the demands of local and external markets through cooperation with six international universities in the US, Canada and Europe.

CIT Minister's Senior Advisor for Human Resources and Training Dr. Ekram Fathi presented the training campaign of pre-university and university graduates using ICT. A total of 750,000 graduates have been trained at the 1765 IT clubs nationwide. IY clubs have been established in cooperation with universities, non-governmental organizations (NGO)s and research centers.

Track Six: ICT Value Added Services (VAS)
Telecom Egypt (TE) Chairman and CEO Eng. Aqil Beshir gave an elaborate presentation of the strategic plan the company is currently implementing to spread advanced telecom services across Egypt. The plan has led to the company owning the biggest and most advanced telecom infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa. The TE network reached 25,000 kilometers due to the on-going expansion to spread landline services in all Egyptian governorates and to raise telephone density in the countryside.  

Egyptian National Post Organization (ENPO) Chairman Eng. Alaa Fahmy showcased selected postal and financial value added services Egypt’s 3700 post offices offer. Eng. Fahmy presented the strategic plan for upgrading postal services encompassing automation of post offices as well as training employees on the state-of-the-art systems applied worldwide. A total of 2100 offices have been automated so far. About 3.2 million retired Egyptians benefit from the cashing pensions service offered at the post offices. Other services include: saving accounts for 17 million people and money transferences valued LE 2.5 billion through three million operations.

After the inauguration, the Prime Minister gave the keynote speech, followed by a speech by ITU Secretary General Dr. Hamdoun Toure, another by Dr. Kamel and a fourth by Mr. Naguib Sawiris, chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding.  

ITU Telecom Africa 2008 is held on an 8,000 square meter space where more than 200 exhibitors from about 40 countries are showcasing their latest technologies. About 6000 visitors from 75 countries are expected to visit the international event.

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