While participating in CeBIT 2012 in Hannover, I was interviewed by Mohammad Taha, BBC Arabic Technology correspondent. The interview was in Arabic so below is a translation for my English-speaking friends and followers. The interview can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/multimedia/2012/03/120313_cebet_pal.shtml
Q: Here at the CeBIT exhibition in the city of Hannover, with a weak Arab participation, we found a number of Palestinian companies, which came from Ramallah and others which were hoping to come from Gaza to participate in CeBIT. Feras Nasr is the President of iConnect in Ramallah. Feras, what gave you the idea of coming to CeBIT and what do you have to present to the world?
A: Thank you Mohammad. Our participation in the international exhibition of CeBIT comes from our desire to expand our serivces to the world. There are many Palestinian companies that present services to US and European companies and we are one of these companies that have clients in the US and Europe. Our participation in CeBIT was important to show that there is a vibrant Software and ICT sector in Palestine.
Q: The general picture of the Palestinian territories is quite grim. To what extent is the environment ready in Palestine to sustain an ICT industry?
A: There are over a hundred companies in IT-related fields, from software, hardware and services. There are 13 Palestinian universities with thousands of graduates each year in IT and software related majors. Therefore, there is a sufficient amount of human resources capable of delivering IT-related services. For Palestine, with the difficulties of the situation on the ground, there is a huge potential to deliver ICT-related services to the outside world.
Q: Do you face perhaps difficulties in marketing and business development?
A: Of course there are difficulties. The Palestinian case is a special one, and there are difficulties but the advantage of software is that there are fewer challenges in exporting it to the outside world.
Q: What are the biggest ostacles you face and how do you think you can limit these obstacles?
A: In my opinion, the biggest obstacle is the perception of the world on the Palestinian ICT and software industry. While participating in this fair, there are many visitors who came here and were surprised that there is IT in Palestine or there are computers in Palestine or Internet in Palestine. with our precence here, we’re proving that there Palestinian companies and Palestinian ability to delivery IT-related services. This is the most important obstabcle to overcome, which is changing this perception to the world.