Al-Ahram Weekly Online   1 - 7 October 2009
Issue No. 966
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Business made easier

A PACKAGE of new regulations is now being studied with an aim to further facilitate business start-ups and provide a more investment-friendly climate in Egypt.

Ossama Saleh, the newly appointed chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), announced last week that electronic registration and set-up of new companies will be effective starting today.

"Upgrading investment services is an ongoing process and we have taken strides in the right direction," said Saleh, who added that the electronic set-up of companies is expected to further improve Egypt's position in areas related to the ease of doing business. Notably, Egypt improved its rank with regards to starting up a business in the IFC's World Bank Doing Business Report 2009, to 24th compared to 126th four years ago.

Another major improvement is decentralising services provided by GAFI's main headquarters in Cairo. At present, the authority has opened four branches and nine offices in different governorates that provide similar services.

Further, GAFI is now engaged in a fruitful dialogue with the Industrial Development Authority with the aim of providing workable solutions to remove obstacles hindering industrial development in Egypt.

"A protocol of cooperation between the two entities is now being prepared. We are up to introducing new rules to guarantee easy access to lands and a better distribution of industrial activities in allocated areas. This is one good example how different ministries concerned with industry and investment can have an integrated vision for the best interest of investors," said Saleh.

CIO mission

ANALYTICS and business intelligence are top priorities for today's chief information officers (CIOs), as revealed at a recently released study by IBM.

In what is considered to be the largest face-to-face survey of CIOs ever conducted, 83 per cent of respondents agreed that using analytics to gain competitive advantage, as well as improving business-driven decision-making, is the main concern of CIOs. Data reliability and security were highly placed on the list of CIO concerns.

"CIOs are investing in business analytics capabilities to help them improve decision-making at all levels," said Pat Toole, CIO of IBM. He believes that CIOs understand that analytics can help open new markets even in an economic slowdown.

According to the study, entitled "The New Voice of the CIO," CIOs spend today 55 per cent of their time on activities that stimulate innovation, such as generating buy-ins for innovative plans and implementing new technologies. The remaining 45 per cent of their time is spent on traditional CIO tasks, including reducing information technology (IT) costs and mitigating enterprise risks.

The study underlined that CIOs are giving more attention to innovation and business value, rather than just running IT. Top visionary projects range from process improvement to taking advantage of technologies that can provide immediate and long-term financial impact, including virtualisation and green IT, service oriented architectures, service management and cloud computing.

After surveying more than 2,500 CIOs from 78 countries and 19 industries of all sizes, the study found that a successful CIO makes innovation real, raises the return on investment of IT, and extends business impact.

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