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Wed 22 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Egypt top outsourcing market claim analysts

Egypt named best equipped regional location for attracting outsourcing biz.

Egypt has been identified as the Middle East country best equipped to attract outsourced IT business.

At a press conference staged at GITEX Technology Week yesterday, research company Yankee Group and analyst firm AT Kearney both identified Egypt as the country best placed to take advantage of the boom in global outsourcing, which is already worth an estimated US$300 billion in 2009.

In his report entitled ‘Can Middle Eastern Countries Fulfill the Eastern Promise?' which examines the strengths and weaknesses of Middle East markets, author, Yankee Group analyst Tony Marson, says Egypt is top pick as an offshore location for many key reasons - namely, low labour, bandwidth and retail costs and a well-trained workforce.

"Companies want a good quality workforce and one that is multi-lingual - Egypt boasts six languages," he explains.

"Enterprises also want domestic and international infrastructure and they want geo-political stability - there has been 25 years of that in Egypt. Overall, Egypt meets all of the prerequisites that companies looking offshore want and it wins hands down as a technology pipeline, as a country with language capabilities and as one with international bandwidth capability."

Marson stresses that if other Middle East countries want to get their share of offshore business, they need to become multilingual rather than limiting themselves to English- and Arabic-speaking workers.

He also notes that Jordan does not rank higher because although it boasts a professional workforce, many trained individuals had been snapped up by Gulf countries where the wages are more attractive.

AT Kearney analyst Mauricio Zuazua notes how his company's global services location index - a tool that helps companies determine where to located their offshore services - not only ranks Egypt as the top Middle East country for these purposes, but the second best emerging market after Bulgaria.

"Its success is based on low costs, without compromising quality, people skills and the business environment of the country," he says.

He points to Egypt's labour force with 2.5 million Egyptians currently in tertiary education. In addition, the World Bank, he says, ranks Egypt as one of the top performers in terms of ‘Ease of Doing Business'.

Egypt's Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) CEO Dr Hazem, says he is confident Egypt can compete on an international level against leading outsourcing markets such as India, the Philippines, Eastern Europe and Brazil.

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