Photos: Egypt follows Bangalore's offshore lead

Photos: Egypt follows Bangalore's offshore lead

Summary: Inside the heart of Egypt's high-tech transformation...

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • Inside the heart of Egypt's high-tech transformation...

    Ancient Pharaohs and pyramids may be what Egypt is most famous for but the country is now making a charge to become the next high-tech offshore outsourcing hotspot for European and US multinationals looking for cheaper call centre and IT locations.

    The country aims to compete with near-shore eastern European and far-shore southeast Asian destinations but will also have to fend off stiff competition from the likes of South Africa and closer neighbours such as Morocco which are also gearing up to try and grab a piece of the lucrative offshore outsourcing market.

    AT Kearney already ranks Egypt as the 12th hottest place for offshore outsourcing and analyst Datamonitor predicts the country's currently tiny share of the market will grow by 52 per cent this year alone.

    Photo: Andy McCue

  • At the heart of Egypt's offshore push is a new "Smart Village" on the outskirts of Cairo that is home to some of the country's leading high-tech and call centre companies such as Xceed. Microsoft also has a campus building here as does the Egyptian ministry of ICT.

    As with Bangalore in India, the ultra-modern Smart Village is a world away from the Cairo that most Egyptians are familiar with and workers are bussed in for their shifts in the call centres from locations around the city.

    The gradual privatisation of telecoms in Egypt has given operations like this the ability to compete in the international market. Xceed has grown from zero staff to 1,000 in just two years and is predicting to reach a headcount of 1,400 by the end of this year.

    Photo: Andy McCue

  • With the average Egyptian earning just over £1.50 per day it is no surprise that the country's 250,000 graduates are jumping at the chance of working in call centres where salaries for those with foreign language skills are around £200 to £250 per month.

    Here at the Xceed call centre they receive 18,000 applications per vacant position and riot police were needed to control the crowds at a recent recruitment day.

    The strong tradition of foreign language schools in Egypt puts the country in a good position to support English-speaking and European customers, while call centre staff are also given weekly newsletters and the latest DVD movies for the country account they are working on.

    Adel Danish, chairman and CEO of Xceed, told "Egypt can be for Europe what India is to the US."

    Photo: Andy McCue

Topic: Tech Industry

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