The event is the world's third largest, gathering almost all tech-based companies.
The 43rd round of the GITEX for Africa will be launched next year in Morocco, which is expected to significantly focus on digital transformation in Africa and how African countries can leverage the new technologies for the benefit of their people, especially amid the ongoing challenging times and the cascading crises the continent has been enduring.
Ahram Online met with a number of international companies that are operating in Egypt and others that are planning to enter the market. All of these companies asserted their intention to expand in the Egyptian market as a critical hub for the MENA region and the main gate to Africa.
Ajay Nawani,p spokesperson and sales engineering operations director for the Middle East and Africa at the US-based Sophos, told Ahram Online that Sophos, specialised in next-generation cybersecurity, initiated its operations in the region 15 years ago and in the Egyptian market it provides cybersecurity consultations to partners and customers.
“The pandemic has made working remotely the new normal. Thus, the work landscape has expanded depending on utilising the internet to do the work, which means that this landscape is in need to protect its data, including in a continent like Africa. Also, the companies need their employees to be more productive, so they invest heavily in digital transformation that is expanding currently in a massive way. Every company became an IT company, indeed, counting significantly on tech solutions. Cybersecurity has become vital for all companies at the time being.”
Nawani explained that the digital transformation efforts Egypt has been making over the past few years are drastic and people have become aware of digital transformation and automation.
“Egypt’s government has created a proper environment for investment and doing business in the local market and we have seen a lot of off-shore businesses that are operating now in the country. We really plan to expand in the Egyptian market which we see as a high-potential market and we are very optimistic about it.”
Ahram Online also talked to Tamer Odeh, spokesperson and regional sales director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa at the US-based SentinelOne, which also has a presence in Egypt and set to participate in the upcoming Cairo ICT expo scheduled in November.
SentinelOne is in talks with the banking sector in Egypt and it has kickstarted an open dialogue with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to provide cybersecurity services as well as its Extended Detection and Response (XDR) technique. It also has engaged in operations with a number of local private sector companies and plans to cooperate with Egypt’s government in this respect.
Odeh said that the annual spending on digital transformation across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa is set to top $58 billion, as regional governments and organisations increasingly look to technology to find new efficiencies and respond to changing demands and new challenges.
“While digital transformation can certainly make a difference, the downside is governments and businesses then become potential targets for a variety of global threat actors. As a result, the need for effective cybersecurity is at an all-time high” Odeh noted.
He also pointed out that cybersecurity solutions must be able to see across every corner of the enterprise and offer rapid and efficient protection across the organisation and an automated response across the connected security ecosystem.
Speaking of Egypt’s digital scene, Odeh said that Egypt has been transformed dramatically in this regard, praising the establishment of the New Administrative Capital as one of the smart cities the country is building.
He added that Egypt is highly talented in the engineering space, development space, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups space, which all make it a market of potential.
“We definitely would like to go on with our operations in the country and to expand in operations and investment. Egypt has a significant population that also has potential to be tapped from our side through expanding in the local market. Egypt is a focal market for this company,” Odeh explained.
Senior Vice President of US-based Swimlane Jim Pickering asserted the significance of cybersecurity in the Middle East. Swimlane is a low-code security automation company that plans to enter the Egyptian market over the short term.
“Globally, there is already a shortage of some 2.72 million cybersecurity professionals, and a critical need for the workforce to grow 65 percent to effectively defend organisations’ assets. When you consider that the Middle East cybersecurity market on its own is projected to more than double from $20.3 billion in 2022 to $44.7 billion by 2027, driven by significant government economic diversification drives, it’s fair to say that the recruitment of cybersecurity professionals from within the region or from international markets will continue to significantly challenge organisations,” Pickering told Ahram Online. Companies cannot compete in the digital world without some type of automation, Pickering added.
He stressed his company’s intention to enter the Egyptian market in the upcoming six months, adding that it will pave the way for this through its participation in the upcoming Cairo ICT Expo.
“The market is really expanding and booming in Egypt. In the first phase of our operations in Egypt, we plan to work through distributors and other partners beside our employment plan. Egypt will be our hub for operations in the North Africa region in general. Over the past two years, Egypt has managed to facilitate the investment procedures as and invest heavily in the ICT sector. The market is becoming more attractive for foreign investments.”
Founder and vice president of ManageEngine, the IT management division of Zoho Corporation, which provides IT management solutions Shailesh Davey told Ahram Online that
Egypt is one of the fastest growing markets for his company in the MENA region.
“We’ve been growing consistently, at more than 35 percent over the past three years. We expect the same rate of growth, both in terms of revenue and new customers in 2022 as well.
Though the needs are different, one thing is clear. Across industries, there is a desire to digitalise and automate critical functions. There is demand for identity and access management (IAM), and cybersecurity solutions, while IT service management and endpoint management are always key focus areas for organisations,” Davey explained.
ManageEngine has been working in the Egyptian market for 15 years focusing on the private sector, while it is getting in connection with a number of ministries for potential cooperation, he added.
“Egypt is giving a great push to e-government and other efforts related to digital transformation and this represents a significant potential that we surely need to tap to expand more in the local market. The Middle East region as a whole has become in the picture in terms of digital transformation."