Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) Acacia ICTs for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Egypt (IDRC project No. 103848)Project ProfileEconomic Development is dependent on the use of information technologies and onan economy of knowledge. In fact, it is imperative for the companies to capture data-processing tools and communication and information technologies in fields such aspromotion, communication, management and training. M/SMEs are still dependenton traditional means in their operations. According to the Arab Human DevelopmentReport, 90% of the Arab economy depends on M/SMEs. In Egypt, 99% of the non-agricultural companies are M/SMEs, constituting 80% of the companies in the privatesector and cash for 66% of the whole of the labour of the country. The developmentof M/SMEs is thus a priority for any government that would like to ensure itseconomic development.The Egyptian companies face competition which is galloping forward at the nationaland regional level like in all other emerging economies. The competition posed bythe Asian companies on the ground even regarding the local and traditional Egyptianproducts is huge in terms of quality and price. The Egyptian government also aimsto promote exports of its products to highly competitive and very demanding marketslike the European market. Thus, mastering the use of ICTs is seen as one of thebasic elements for increased competitiveness of the Egyptian companies on thenational, regional and international market. Faced with a narrow and progressivelyshrinking market that is increasingly being subjected to intense foreign competition, itis urgent for SMEs, and the private sector in general, to develop their operations soas to become up to international standards.The Arab Human Development Report mentions a study that was conducted in 192countries which concludes that human and social capital are 64% behind economicgrowth whereas material capital contributes to only 16% of this growth and theremainder is due to the capital of natural resources. In this context, the Egyptian M/SMEs must ensure the development of their technological capacities, access toinformation and utilization of intelligence and adopt ICTs in their daily operations inorder to maintain their existence and become competitive.This project aims at developing the capacities of the micro, small and medium-sizedEgyptian companies (M/SMEs) through the use of the ICTs. The ultimate goal is tomake it possible for the Egyptian M/SMEs to generate more employment and tobecome more competitive and more effective at the national and international levels.By doing this, the project will allow a better comprehension of the advantages ofICTs for the development of M/SMEs in Egypt.
In this project, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and InformationTechnologies has proposed to take the lead - under the direction of the ICT TrustFund – in implementing a series of actions aiming at helping M/SMEs to adopt ICTs.By doing this, an important bulk of knowledge, analyses and data will be produced inorder to come up with lessons learned on the strategies and the approaches for theappropriate adoption of ICTs by the M/SMEs in Egypt. The project will also producetools that will assess the capacities of these companies, as well as tools to assistthem in adopting and benefiting from ICT and will give attention to womencontractors in order to encourage the presence and the success of the women in themanagement of M/SMEs.Moreover, the project will offer the participating Egyptian M/SMEs a set of softwaredata-processing tools accompanied with documents that will assist them inappropriately using these tools. This software will be primarily free software availablein-line with the needs expressed by the companies. In this regard, the research teamwill assess the needs of companies based on the economic sector they belong to.Project ObjectivesIn general, this proposed project intends to:• Build capacity of Egyptian M/SMEs to leverage Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in order to generate employment and create efficient, better- connected and more competitive enterprises.• Through NGOs involvement, identify new socio-economic opportunities that can be leveraged through ICTs.• Establish and maintain a self-supporting Information Society for M/SMEs to encourage employment generation entrepreneurship.• Foster the understanding of the benefits of ICTs by M/SMEs, while actively promoting their usage; and• Assist M/SMEs in connecting to new markets, and have a multiplier effect where the target group creates momentum and raises the standard for the utilization of ICTs in Egypt.Other specific objectives include:• Elaborate and administer a study of M/SMEs needs in terms of ICTs and training.• Conduct an awareness program on the benefits of ICTs for M/SMEs development.• Create and deliver a training program.• Test and assess the role of NGOs in helping M/SMEs to adopt ICTs.• Promote the delivery of some goods and services online.• Create and deliver an Awards program to promote the use of ICTs by M/SMEs in Egypt.• Test the use of Mobile devices to deliver information to M/SMEs in Egypt.• and assess the impact of ICTs on M/SMEs development.Expected ResultsPrimarily, the anticipated results will be in the form of a set of tools making it possibleto evaluate the needs of companies in terms of ICTs and trainings on ICTs; a seriesof training courses and a series of analysis tools.
The development results are actually the enabled companies and their capacity tomake better use of ICTs to increase their competitiveness. This anticipated result willbe measured by the application of the different evaluation tools envisaged and theresult will be known and disseminated. However, the resulting tools will beregistered while conducting the research project especially that registration usuallytakes several years of use.The real impact on the companies will be perceptible two or three years after thetraining, the adoption of ICTs and their use in daily work. The project will develop asoftware kit based on solutions available in OpenSource. This kit will bedownloadable for free on the Web site of the project.Duration and AmountDuration: June 2006 – July 2008Amount: 450,000 CADFor additional information, please contact:Mohab Hallouda Dr. Adel El-ZaimUnited Nations Development Program Senior Program Officer(UNDP) IDRC-Cairo OfficeWorld Trade Centre, 4th floor, Corniche El- P.O. Box 14, Orman, Cairo, EgyptNil, Cairo - Egypt Tel: +20 2 336 7051/2/3/4Tel: +20-2-3088218 Fax: +20 2 3367056Fax: +20-2-3088166 e-mail: email@example.com: firstname.lastname@example.org