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Taking Egyptian CIT to Italy
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 21 - 04 - 2005

A potential market for Egyptian CIT products lies in southern Italy. Eman Youssef reports from Naples
With a view to promoting Italy communication and information technology (CIT) sector, the companies SMAU and Filia organised the International Exhibition of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Consumers Electronics (also called [email protected]) in Naples earlier this month. The event showcased specialised IT solutions for the banking and finance sector.
The products on show included hardware for Internet- based applications, telecommunications, service providers, web development, computer science, software house, office automation, management, consulting, training, publishing, venture capital, logistics, IT security, IT and business process outsourcing, business intelligence, risk management, cards and payments, clearing and settlement and wealth management. With 170 exhibitors, the fair attracted some 35,000 visitors, compared to 28,000 last year. The fair drew senior decision-makers, IT professionals and top industry buyers from more than 12 countries. Al-Ahram Information and Communication Technology Exhibition (ACITEX) represented Egypt in the fair.
"The success of SMAU is largely driven by booming demand for specialised financial services technology in the Mediterranean," said Giovanni Frangipane, president of [email protected]
The future of international ICT investment in developing e-business, e-commerce and e-governance along with the development of the Internet and wireless communications were the principal topics of discussion during the fair.
Leonardo Iacovelli, chairman of Reti for Technology Innovation Company suggested that ICT professionals need to focus on promoting the knowledge-based economy, as well as advancing understanding of the role of ICT in making that economy a reality.
Alfredo Cazzola, president of SMAU, provided a business perspective on the challenges facing ICT for development efforts. From the point of view of the international business community, these efforts must focus on several key goals: creating the fundamental building blocks of the information society, notably infrastructure and education; developing transparent and predictable policies; linking ICT policy clearly to broader economic development; ensuring that national strategies include measurable targets; fostering public-private partnerships; and promoting a transparent policy-making process.
This year's SMAU [email protected] fair also witnessed for the second straight year the launch of a new portal, this year dedicated to the tourism and the cultural assets of Campania, the Italian region around Naples. The aim of the exhibition was to promote a closer link among enterprises, institutions and Campania's ICT market.
Maria Adinolfi, the area coordinator for scientific research and IT systems of Campania told Al-Ahram Weekly that the World Bank has chosen the region of Campania for funding projects in the IT field for SMEs. "We were considering taking Egypt as a partner," she said, adding that this funding programme aims to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises by expanding their access to innovative ICT and e-business solutions and services.
Moreover, according to Adinolfi, the EU allocated nine billion euros from 2000 to 2006 for funding IT projects in Campania.
"Egypt can't miss such an event to understand the Italian market and make business deals," Adinolfi said, adding that Egypt has taken great steps in the ICT field.
Within that same context, the Italian government has allocated some 1.5 billion euros for technological research in underdeveloped areas, primarily in southern Italy. "Information and communication technologies can be a key means for the growth of the South," said Luigi Stanca, minister of innovation and technology.
"Our economy, and that of the South in particular, will depend more and more on intangible factors, such as knowledge, research and digital technologies," he said. According to Frangipane, information security is crucial to the deployment and use of ICT as economic and social tools. Developing countries must make a substantial effort -- with help from international partners -- to create the mechanisms for secure information exchange and online transactions, or they will be left behind in the global ICT-enabled economy. Additional opportunities for cooperation between Italy and Egypt in the field of IT are likely to arise in February 2006 when an Italian delegation attends ACITEX in Cairo.

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