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Tue 11 Jan 2011 04:51 PM

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Egypt's tech push creates fresh jobs for graduates

Some 70% of technology grads in Egypt now go to work in IT sector, says state agency

Egypt's tech push creates fresh jobs for graduates
JOBS PUSH: about 65,000 Egyptians working in the information technology sector in Egypt (Getty Images)

Egypt’s
push to style itself as an outsourcing hub for technology will create
much-needed jobs for the newly graduated and revamp the education system to
include a tech curriculum.

“We’re
looking at creating more jobs for the newly graduated,” Yasser El Kady, CEO of
the Information Technology Industry Development Agency, told Arabian Business
in an interview at his office in Cairo.

“We’re
focusing on talent development, even in the colleges. We’re not just focusing
on the engineering and the technology [itself.]”

He
said there were about 65,000 Egyptians working in the information technology
sector in Egypt, with 30-35,000 providing local services and the rest working
on outsourced services.

“Seventy
percent of the people who trained in [computer science] at university are now
going to work in our sector,” he said. “These are people who wouldn’t have this
kind of job otherwise.”

“Education
is key,” added Wael Fakharany, Google’s North Africa manager.

At
Intel’s Egypt office, for the time being, “most of the focus is going to be on
recruiting local talent,” said country head Taha Khalifa. “And as the situation
grows, we’ll be able to recruit from neighbouring countries, and then experts
from Europe and the US as well.”

Egypt’s
79 million population is growing at two percent a year, and some 60 percent of
citizens are under the age of 30. Nine out of ten jobless Egyptians fall into
this age group, a situation set to worsen as fresh graduates fill an already
glutted job market.

Khalifa
said Intel and fellow country offices had worked on a technology curriculum
that could be modified for Egyptian classrooms, to match skill sets to market
needs.

“We
worked on new classes – we were able to help train students at Egyptian
universities. They learned to program sequentially, but now they need to know
[more advanced] parallel programming concepts.”

He
said the current recruit pool needs work if Egypt hopes to stop the jobs from
going to foreigners.

“On
the basic technological aspects we find good people, but things need polishing
– we’re working in teams,” he said. “Both the academic community and the
minister are receptive to us telling them about the requirements so that we can
meet our needs.”

Egypt’s
overall unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in 2009. A number of those left in
the cold were younger, recently graduated candidates who could not find
suitable work at home.

“We’re
multilingual here – speaking English, Dutch, Portuguese” in addition to Arabic,
El Kady said. “Our talent pool is different than India’s – it’s more sophisticated
when it comes to IT.”

 

Mark 8 years ago

Egypt is definitely not India ( in terms of culture ) but when it comes to IT - India / Asia is much better bet than Egypt.....

Ahmed 8 years ago

@Mark: care to elaborate?