Egypt has taken a step forward in combating software piracy according to the fifth annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study where its piracy rating dropped to 60 percent for 2007, an improvement of 3 percent year on year. Its rating is now 1 percent below the global median piracy rating (61 percent) for 2007.

The report, conducted across 108 countries, looks at the impact of the piracy of all packaged software that runs on personal computers, including desktops, laptops and ultra-portables. Software piracy is a global issue and is a particular challenge in emerging markets where rapid growth in first-time users leads to high consumer piracy. Increased Internet use, especially broadband, leads to an increase in the supply of pirated software and in many emerging countries, where institutional infrastructure is weak, education and enforcement can be difficult.

However, Egypt has met the challenge head on, according to a government release, highlighting its commitment to providing a modern business environment. The support given by the Egyptian government through the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), has enabled Egypt to take a number of steps to reduce software piracy.

Commenting on the reports finding, His Excellency Dr. Tarek Kamel, Egypt's minister of communications and information technology said: "Piracy is a global issue and here in Egypt we have been proactive in tracking the situation. Since the early 2000s we have been approving deals with vendors to provide software for government and educational use which has contributed to this latest drop in our piracy rating."

Last year, Egypt was named by the World Bank as the top reformer in 2007 and not only will a reduction in software piracy help build Egypt's position as a leading outsourcing location but, according to an IDC report published in January 2008, a 10-point reduction in Egypt's piracy rating over the next 10 years will have a profound impact on the country's economy. An improved rating will create an additional 1,750 new jobs, $150 million in economic growth and $8 million in tax revenues.

Over the past five years, Egypt's piracy rating has fallen from 69 percent in 2003 to 60 percent in 2007. As a result, it now has a lower piracy rating than some of the other leading global outsourcing locations including Morocco (67 percent), the Philippines (69 percent) and Bulgaria (68 percent).

Commenting on Egypt's position in the global market, Dr Hazem Abdelazim, CEO, ITIDA said: "Over the years, Egypt has worked hard to reduce piracy levels with a number of initiatives including Intellectual Property Rights training for prosecutors and the Egyptian courts of law and whilst there is still a long way to go, we are making good progress. Egypt has the potential to become one of the world's most attractive, dynamic and fastest growing locations for global outsourcing and offshoring and it is important that we, along with the MCIT and the Egyptian government, continue to support the development of the IT industry."