Regional General Manager of Intel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Taha Khalifa expects the information and communication technology (ICT) market to grow in 2016.
Khalifa noted that there are several investment opportunities in the field of cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
In his interview to Daily News Egypt, Khalifa said he expects spending on ICT in the MENA region to increase to $100m in 2016, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) specialised in research and advisory services for the field of IT.
Do you believe the Egyptian market is still able to attract investments?
Of course, the Egyptian market continues to draw the international companies’ attention and is able to continue attracting investments.
What makes it attractive to investments?
It is a promising market on the level of MENA region and always draws the attention of the international companies. This is for a number of reasons, most importantly the high percentage of youth who are aware of the role of technology, and their large number in comparison to neighbouring markets.
Moreover a large segment of youth in Egypt is capable of using technology, which causes them to be targeted as clients. Egypt has a large population, making it a large market in terms of consumption.
In addition, its economic and political position makes it among the most effective countries in the region’s economy, and that gives it weight in the ICT field. This is evidenced by the fact that the majority of the international companies have investments and presence in the Egyptian market.
Egypt has regional agreements raising the opportunities of exporting, such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and other agreements. This is in addition to a great segment of trained workers in the ICT sector.
How do you view Egypt’s ICT market in 2016?
The Cairo ICT exhibition in last December reflected the optimistic view of the Egyptian government for the sector. It also revealed the government’s direction to pump new investments in the sector, which creates more job opportunities and increases Egyptian IT exports.
The fact that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated the exhibition signifies the state’s attentiveness to the ICT sector. It was a good incentive for international companies to pump more investments in the Egyptian market. The ICT market is expected to witness positive efforts during this year, with the government’s focus on new technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
This has been confirmed by the international reports issued by the specialised research institutions. According to the indicators of the International Data Corporation (IDC) specialised in research and advisory services for the ICT field, the spending on IT in the MENA region in 2015 amounted to approximately $95bn. The number is expected to reach over $100bn in 2016, which reflects the IT market’s growth.
What are the investment opportunities you see in the Egyptian market in 2016?
The IT field is one of top fields in terms of the availability of investment opportunities, whether for the projects of automating the governmental services or the projects of developing education through IT, especially since there are about 17 million students and 1.2 million teachers. Moreover, there are investment opportunities in the Internet of Things services that can be utilised in several sectors, such as traffic services.
Does the weak purchasing power in the Egyptian market stand as a challenge?
The users in the Egyptian market always want to own the latest technologies and therefore the purchasing power is not a major challenge for investment in Egypt. Proof of this is the increasing spread of the smartphones in the Egyptian market.
What is your strategy for increasing technology in the Egyptian market?
We have a lot of programmes and initiatives that work on encouraging innovative thinking among the youth interested in information technology, such as the “Intel Innovation” initiative, which depends on three major axes. The first is education and spreading the 21st century skills among students. The second is encouraging scientific and technological thinking. The third is regarding the skills for utilising the of Internet Things technology in innovation.
How does your company view the growth in computers sales in 2016?
The specialised reports expect slight growth in sales of computers in Egypt and teh Middle East in 2016.
What are the most growing technological tools in 2016?
Smartphones and tablets are the tools expected to significantly grow in the Egyptian market and the Middle East in 2016.
Do smartphones acquire a share of the tablets’ sales?
Smartphones with large screens of five inches or more, or what is known as a “Phablet”, have already started to acquire a share of tablet sales. They are expected to continue growing and obtain a share of tablet sales.