Egypt’s IT sector looks pumped for growth, with 592-million Egyptian pounds worth of investments in both hardware and software during the in the first 11 months of 2000, compared to EP 290 million in the corresponding period of the previous year, reported Al-Ahram.
During this same 11 month-period, 30 new Internet service providers began operating, raising the number nationwide to 150. Indeed, Egypt’s telecommunication and information ministry has just licensed five new ISPs, which will begin operating later this month.
The proliferation of ISPs is one of the reasons behind a decision by the telecommunication and information ministry to lower the local Internet subscription fee to EP 30 per month. In this way it hopes to raise the number of the Internet subscribers nationwide to one million, from an estimated 500,000 at present.
Full Internet services began in Egypt in October 1993, at the Egyptian Universities Network and the Cabinet Information & Decision Support Center (IDSC), using a 9.6K link to France. The user community then was essentially academic was estimated number between 2,000 and 3,000 users people.
By 2005, the Internet user base is forecast to grow more than 1500 percent to 7.2 million. The annual PC growth rate is 53 percent, and ordinary Egyptians are now able to access the web via cybercafes, community telephone shops, schools, public libraries, and youth centers.
Earlier in 2000, the Microsoft company offered to provide discount price software for 100,000 Egyptian state university students and technical training schemes in what its chairman Bill Gates said is a helping hand to Egypt's the country’s fledgling IT industry.
Egypt's IT market is said to be growing 25 to 30 percent a year. But an obstacle to its growth, and that of the local Internet culture, has been a general shortage of quality Arabic content. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )