Best for outsourcing
Egypt has won the annual award of the British National Outsourcing Association (NOA) in offshoring destination. A recent report by the independent technology and research analyst Yankee Group also positioned Egypt as the Middle East’s clear winner in global outsourcing, already worth an estimated $300 billion in 2009. Egypt was assessed as the strongest—among UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia—based on its young population, sustainable and abundant talent pool of technologically skilled and multi-lingual university graduates. Its geographical position—close to Europe and Asia—coupled with strong government support are also assets. Egypt’s Smart Village model, the report declared, is the ‘gold standard’ in ICT Park design. Among the companies using Egypt as a base for software development, technical support contact centres and research facilities are IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Satyam, Wipro, Orange, Alcatel, Teleperformance and Vodafone. Work on a new Technological Zone planned in the Cairo suburb of Maadi is ongoing; the zone is expected to go into operation in some three years time.
Fight against bird flu
The United States will provide an additional $320 million to aid in the fight against bird flu, a US official said on Saturday during an international bird flu conference held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt. The US had pledged 629 million dollars last December during a conference in New Delhi that raised 2.7 billion dollars to fight against the avian flu, which the UN says could cause a global crisis. The H5N1 virus strain first emerged in Asia in 2003 and has since caused some 245 human deaths.
A French Egyptian seminar on textile machinery which took place in Cairo earlier this month had ten French companies presenting their know-how, products and equipment, after-sales services, output optimisation and modernisation of the existing equipment. They also analysed recent market trends, proposed technical solutions to their Egyptian counterparts to enhance the competitiveness of the Egyptian textile industry in cotton and natural fibres, recycling, carpet yarn processing, technical and non-woven textiles, dyeing and finishing and air conditioning equipment for textile factories. The seminar was organised by UCMTF, the French Textile Machinery Manufacturers’ association, in collaboration with UBIFRANCE, the French agency for international business development, and the French embassy in Cairo. France is the third largest exporter of textile machinery in the European Union and the fifth in the world.
Solvay in Alex
To serve its expansion into growing Middle East and North Africa markets, Solvay has acquired 100 per cent of Alexandria Sodium Carbonate Company (ASCC) from the Holding Company for Chemical Industries (HCCI), an Egyptian State-owned company. Solvay won the auction for ASCC last March, at EGP760 million. ASCC produces sodium carbonate and quicklime, it is Egypt’s only sodium carbonate producer and serves the domestic market. ASCC’s plant which was erected in 1974 near Alexandria, was thoroughly modernised in the late 1990s, and currently has a nameplate production capacity of 130,000 metric tons of soda ash.
Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawwas last week paid an inspection visit to the pyramids area in Giza, to check on the ongoing work of the second phase of the Pyramids plateau development project. The project involves lighting works, road and sidewalk paving, the upgrading of the Sphinx area and the construction of offices. The surrounding slum area will also be cleaned up. The first stage of the project which opened last August, cost EGP300 million and included the erection of an 18.5km-long security wall fitted with cameras and electronic gates to secure the area, as well as sophisticated explosive detectors and magnetic ticket machines. Electric shuttle buses are being used to move visitors from the parking lots to the area which has been closed to traffic.