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UAE and Morocco extend cooperation in technology sector

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, December 04 - 2007 @ 13:51

In particular, the telecommunications sector offers huge potential for suppliers and telecom operators, according to leading research group, IDC, as well as for local enterprises looking to outsource IT.

A major meeting held in Dubai this week provided a crucial platform to discuss the opportunities being created for enterprises and suppliers in the UAE.

“Morocco is increasingly positioning itself as a key telecommunication partner for companies across the region, providing both a strong Arabic-speaking outsourcing destination, as well as sustaining major growth and investment opportunities in the Kingdom,” said Bachir Rachdi, Chairman of APEBI, the Moroccan Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications and Off-shoring, who spoke at the conference.

Globally, the telecommunications sector almost quadrupled in value between 1998 and 2006, growing from $873m to $3,230m last year. Morocco has seen particularly strong infrastructure growth, with the Kingdom currently supporting over 400,000 ADSL connections, making it the most connected broadband country in Africa, even ahead of South Africa.

“Morocco initiated market liberalization relatively early, which has created major benefits in the first phase for suppliers and telecommunication partners. We’re now seeing that the results of this investment has created wider social and economic benefits, particularly as Morocco becomes a major outsourcing partner for companies in the GCC,”

said Jyoti Lalchandani, VP and Regional MD – IDC MEA.

In part, this major growth has been driven by strong foreign direct investment (FDI). Between 1998-2005, FDI in the telecommunications sector represented over half of total FDI in Morocco.

The impact of the development of the ICT sector has been significant. Over 42,000 employees currently work in the sector, and over 120,000 indirect jobs have been created in call centres, internet cafes and other related sectors.

Morocco’s strength as an ICT outsourcing center stems from the rapid expansion of its ICT industry and its use of advanced global networks. The Moroccan IT market expanded from US$403.88 million in 2001 to US$638.69 million in 2006, representing an average annual growth rate of 9.6%.

With more than 1,500 ICT firms employing over 42,000 people, the country is now firmly established as one of the leading suppliers of IT services in the Middle East.

IDC’s major meeting in Dubai – Agenda for a Shrinking Globe: Seizing Opportunities in a Connected World – brought together representatives from government, telecommunications, utility and transport companies to meet with senior representatives from Apebi.

Agenda for a Shrinking Globe is part of a major government initiative to encourage Gulf companies to take advantage of Morocco’s rapidly developing base of services.

The Moroccan government is taking steps to ensure this growth continues. The Kingdom has committed to a public-private agreement and strategy for expanding the country’s ICT sector to $9bn by 2012, which will help solidify Morocco’s position as a premiere centre for outsourcing.

In addition, major projects like the educational Genie Programme – which has already equipped 2,000 schools with multimedia equipment – offer important opportunities for suppliers and partners.

Morocco’s Universal Service programme aims to equip Moroccans with telecommunications service, including Internet access at an affordable price. Between 2005 and 2006 the programme has already provided 1,230 rural areas with telecommunications networks, including 430 localities provided with Internet access.

Conference details
IDC’s Shrinking Globe event featured presentations and sessions focused on key issues such as:

-Arabic Content Localization and Development
-Electronic Payment Systems
-Enterprise IT Network and Infrastructure Management
-Geographical Information Systems
-Telecom and IT Integration
-Information Security Systems
-Integrated Asset and Real Estate Management
-Mobile Computing
-Location Based Service
-Private Business Park dedicated to BPO and ITO
-Telecom and IT Integration
-World Class Infrastructures Solutions

The conference also aimed to recruit IT channels (distributors and resellers) capable of playing a significant role in the implementation of projects/services for Apebi’s partners.

IDC’s upcoming conference, Agenda for Shrinking Globe: Seizing Opportunities in a Connected World, was held at Emirates Towers, Dubai, on December 4th, 2007.

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Tuesday, December 4- 2007 @ 13:51 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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