Coded for Success: Palestine’s ICT Sector
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has had a significant influence on the development of Palestine’s infrastructure, quality of life, state of education, recognition of its rich, cultural history, and the emergence of its startup economy.
The global media including The Guardian and the New York Times, have all pointed to the emergence of Palestine’s ICT sector. Global outsourcing experts have attested in a recent published PITA study that the Palestinian outsourcing industry is capable of sustaining multiple concurrent IT development projects at levels of quality, timeline and customer satisfaction as buyers would expect from a global IT outsourcing services provider.
As of 2007 year end, ICT sector contributed about 10-12% of the GDP with a market size of around $500 million, with approximately 250 ICT companies. Palestinian ICT companies cover wide spectrum of the ICT market including hardware distributors, software development firms, office automation vendors, and internet service providers, and telecommunications companies, ICT consulting and training companies.
Read. Set. Start Up!
In offices, universities, and coffee houses, Palestinian entrepreneurs are looking at a vast, global market of opportunity, often partnering with other Palestinians in other regions of the world. Many Palestinian startups have been inspired by returning citizens, who have studied and in some cases, created startups of their own in places like Silicon Valley.
A Unified Voice
The Palestinian private ICT sector is organized and governed by a strong established ICT association: the Palestinian IT Association of companies (PITA).
PITA has a vibrant advocacy policy to positively affect and influence government’s ICT regulations. PITA also has open communication channels with different key decision makers and major stakeholders in the Palestinian community to help advance the ICT sector.
A Strategy Towards the Future
Moving forward, PITA’s strategy for 2012 – 2015 is to enhance the external business environment by developing the regulatory process and fighting monopolistic activities in support of open, transparent and competitive market.
· ICT Sector Growth rate 8% in 2009 and 10% in 2010.
· ~530M$ Economic value – added.
· ~8% contribution to the national GDP.
· Expected growth to 10% of GDP
· ~8000 students in ICT, 2500 yearly graduates.
· 13 Palestinian Universities teach ICT related fields.
· 5000 direct employees, 15,000 indirect employees.
· 50% of companies work in software development, consulting and online services.
· Internet is provided through different main internet providers with backbone from Jordan, Egypt, and UK.
· Fiber Optics.
· Symmetrical and asymmetrical DSL.
· Microwave connectivity from Israel and Jordan.
Palestine ICT Companies Partnerships
· 50% of companies have partnerships outside Palestine.
· 30% are exporting services and products.
· Major joint R&D projects include CISCO, Intel, HP & Microsoft.
· International markets include USA, Europe, Canada, ME and the gulf.