Cairo—the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa—means “the victorious city”. The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East, and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.
It is the chief commercial and industrial center of Egypt. The majority of the nation's commerce is generated here, or passes through the city. Majority of publishing houses and media outlets and nearly all film studios are settled in Cairo, as are half of the nation's hospital beds and universities.
Increase in population of Cairo shows an upward trend. One-third of the total population is under 15 and nearly three-fifth is under 30. The positive implication is that the population is relatively young. The most populous metropolitan area in Africa, it ranks 16th among the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Majority of the population is Egyptians, with less number of foreigners.
Cairo is the economic center of Egypt, with two-thirds of the country's gross national product generated in the greater metropolitan area. Today, the majority of its work force is employed in service sector jobs, especially in government, financial services, and commerce. English and Arabic are commonly spoken in this destination along with German, French, Spanish, and Italian.
Egypt is one of the world's fastest growing locations for global outsourcing and services, and has seen huge investments in the last year, with companies such as EMC, Stream Global Services, and Sykes Enterprise, collaborating with Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and outsourcing their business in Egypt. It should be noted, Egypt is fast becoming one of the world's most attractive locations for global outsourcing. Currently, most foreign companies -locating IT and BPO positions- in Egypt use Cairo as their base.
Industries in Cairo have developed fast, churning out new job opportunities for the natives. This destination's multilingual workforce, business analytics, and testing services act as its strongest key functions. In addition, allure of this city is that it is a low- cost base, embraces the large supply of skilled multilingual agents, has an amazing geographical position and it is economically and politically stable.
Egypt hopes to see a tenfold increase in exports from its growing outsourcing industry by 2020and will boost its focus on information technology (IT) entrepreneurship and co-ownership of intellectual property. Egypt's economy, buoyed by rising exports, could grow by 5.5 percent in fiscal 2010/11 and attract $10B in foreign direct investment (FDI) as it recovers from the global economic crisis.
Extremely attractive tax breaks and associated financial incentives are available to foreign companies, so Egypt looks attractive on price, too. The typical per-seat cost for a call center is around $15,000—a highly competitive figure.
From its inception, Cairo’s economy has been based on governmental functions, commerce, trade, and industrial production. It is an outsourcing haven, with its vast dedicated technology and outsourcing park in Smart Village, and the development of Maadi Park, which will house in excess of 135,000 employees. Smart Village, the Egyptian ICT hub located in the suburbs of Cairo, offers facilities for more than 35,000 people and is home to a growing number of regional and international technology vendors including Vodafone, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Oracle. Additional Smart Village offices are being planned for Alexandria to accommodate the countries fast-growing ICT industry. Mobile phone network operator Vodafone has 800 contact center agents in Cairo serving the domestic, UK, Australian, and New Zealand markets. Network technology provider Alcatel-Lucent has 300 technical support staff in Cairo. Local contact center outsourcing provider Xceed has 1,900 employees in Cairo supporting customers across Europe, the United States, Canada, and the Gulf. Satyam opened a center in Cairo in July 2007, from where it does some application development. Wipro gained a presence in Egypt with the acquisition of development center New Logic. Currently, it has around 40 employees, but plans to expand to 300.
One business park, designed for BPO and ITO delivery, is currently being built-in downtown Cairo. Maadi Park will have the capacity for 45,000 employees in over 40 buildings in 2 million square meters. Operations are expected to begin there later this year, with completion scheduled for 2012. As well as expanding capacity, Maadi Park offers a more convenient location, being closer to central Cairo and having better transport links—it will be near the city’s metro network. While there are plans to build business parks in other cities in Egypt, currently nearly all ITO and BPO work is located in Cairo’s Smart Village.
Some major names, such as Oracle, Orange, and Microsoft have set up captive operations in Cairo, while major IT outsourcers such as IBM and EDS (HP) have had presence here for many years.
The largest expansion plans are also Cairo centric, with the previously discussed Maadi Park location, which is being developed currently. The options of where to locate are limited outside Cairo’s Smart Village, while there are plans to build other parks in other Egyptian cities, these are still in the planning phase.