Egyptian institute and DIT discuss IT facility

DUBLIN Institute of Technology (DIT) is in talks with Egypt’s National Telecommunications Institute (NTI) with a view to establishing a centre of IT excellence there.

The talks have formed part of a three-day trade mission to Ireland — ending this morning — by the Egyptian government aimed at attracting Irish IT companies to invest in Egypt’s burgeoning technology sector, which is growing by 20% per annum.

DIT and NTI are looking to co-establish a facility which will specialise in industry training and development programmes, technical support and R&D (research and development) projects in addition to scientific research collaborations. Dublin-based e-learning business, Education Media Publishing Group (EMPG) — formerly Riverdeep and headed by Barry O’Callaghan — is in talks to provide the Egyptian-based Information Technology Institute (ITI) with e-learning content.

In total, 12 Egyptian companies travelled to Ireland on this trip, with around 40 Irish companies also taking part — including Iona Technologies, Norkom Technologies, Merrion IT, System Dynamics and Realex Payments.

The visiting Egyptian delegation, led by the country’s IT and communications minister Dr Tarek Kamel, said it also wanted to build partnerships with the likes of UCD and Trinity College Dublin to develop executive training programmes for IT skills. Egypt already has an impressive IT skills base — with around 10% of its 250,000 university graduates per year qualifying in IT.

The country currently ranks 12th in the world when it comes to providing and exporting IT services and has been called the “India of the Middle East”. The value of its IT-based exports reached $600 million (e470.5m) last year and is tipped to pass the $1.1 billion mark by next year.

Dr Kamel called Ireland an impressive role model in building IT as a leading national industry.

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