IBM today launched a Global Service Delivery Center based in Egypt and signed agreements with the government to create a nanotechnology research center and develop a services science university curriculum.
Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss IBM's new initiatives in Egypt focused on scientific research and information technology exports, which are part of the company's increased focus on growth markets around the world.
Mr. Palmisano also met with Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif to discuss possible cooperation between the Government of Egypt and IBM in various sectors of the economy.
"Egypt faces a major opportunity; the seat of one of the world's oldest civilizations is now an emerging player onto the world stage of a new, globalized economy," Mr. Palmisano said. "I am impressed and optimistic about its future because of the way it is nurturing its talent, its human resources and its technical potential. These initiatives announced today mark IBM's deep commitment to strengthening that process of growth and opportunity and extending the long and highly successful partnerships we have enjoyed in Egypt."
The Service Delivery Center, IBM's first such center in the region, initially employs 100 persons and is expected to grow to as many as 1,000 employees within the next few years. It provides a full range of business consulting, cross-industry expertise, application development and maintenance, software testing and embedded software development services.
In addition to clients in the region, the delivery center already is serving clients in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. because of the strong language skills found in Egypt and the government's focus on building IT skills.
One of the agreements signed today by the Government of Egypt and IBM will establish a center in Cairo for research and development in nanotechnology with advanced cooperation between Egyptian and international scientific teams. Under a second agreement, Egypt and IBM will work together to introduce Services Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) into the Egyptian National Curriculum.
The two agreements are effective immediately and form multi-year strategic commitments between IBM and the Egyptian Government.
Dr. Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, praised IBM's plans to increase the number of employees working in the service global delivery center, which he said will contribute to Egypt's drive to export more IT services. He said governmental support for the service delivery center, the nanotechnology center and the SSME curriculum will advance Egypt's National Agenda for growth.
"The launch and successful development of a 100-person center that is expected to grow to eventually employ 1,000 people will result in a culture that will foster and promote a stronger knowledge-based export economy for Egypt," Dr. Kamel said. "Nanotechnology is a new and exciting field for innovation, impacting every industry and has been identified as the way to position Egypt to become part of the next generation technological revolution. The SSME curriculum will provide our students with skills currently in high demand by organizations around the world."
With the assistance of IBM, the Egyptian nanotechnology research center will be equipped with leading-edge equipment and lab facilities. Egyptian scientists and engineers will work side-by-side with IBM scientists and engineers on advanced nanoscience and nanotechnology programs. The work will be coordinated with the efforts of IBM Research labs in Zurich, Switzerland; Almaden, California; and Yorktown Heights, New York.
Nanotechnology is the field of applied science focused on the reliable and repeatable design and control of the structure of very small objects. The length scales range from the atomic to the macroscopic -- generally, from one to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter -- roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.
The agreement to introduce SSME into the Egyptian University Curriculum is recognition of the increased importance of the services industry in the global economy. SSME is a new academic discipline designed to develop the skills required in an increasingly services-based global economy and brings together ongoing work in computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, business strategy, management sciences, social and cognitive sciences, and legal sciences to develop the skills required in services-led organizations.
"The set-up of the nanotechnology center and the introduction of SSME by Egypt and IBM are key to the implementation of Egypt's science and technology strategy that will lead to the development of a knowledge economy," said Dr. Hany Helal, Minister of Higher Education and State Minister of Scientific Research. "The Government of Egypt's profound commitment to investing wisely in the development of highly skilled, capable young people to take their place in competitive global markets is reflected in our work with IBM to develop the most innovative and relevant learning programs for our students."
IBM has been operating in Egypt since 1954 and has based technology development operations in the country for almost 25 years. The IBM Cairo Technology Center Development currently employs more than 500 software developers, architects and professionals.
The IBM facilities in Egypt play key roles in IBM's ability to serve customers across geographic boundaries, bringing skills to the customer no matter where those skills are based in the world. To sharpen its focus on Egypt and other growth countries in the world, IBM has formed a Growth Markets organization based in Shanghai with regional headquarters in Dubai and Sao Paulo.