Press Centre

Aptec takes up the challenge of helping rebuild IT infrastructure in Iraq

Middle East's leading IT distributor develops two-pronged strategy to focus on humanitarian and technical support systems - May 21, 2003

With the rapid developments in Iraq and the impending lifting of sanctions, Aptec, one of the biggest and fastest-growing IT distributor in the Middle East, has launched a two-pronged strategy to provide humanitarian aid and help rebuild the IT infrastructure in a country which had a high degree of education and PC literacy. Aptec-Care, the humanitarian aid project being established to ease the medical shortages in Iraq and the re-opened Aptec Iraq office which will serve the IT needs of the country, will both begin operations in August 2003.

Aptec, which operated in Iraq until the sanctions took effect in 1990, is focusing on using its vast expertise in the region and especially Iraq, to help build up a competent system which will channel emergency medical aid and provide IT support in terms of installation, maintenance and back-up for the new government and the health services.

"We have set out a long term strategy with regards to Iraq and the first phase will focus completely on providing all necessary support, be it humanitarian or IT-related that will help re-build this war torn nation. A senior team has been allocated this task and is ready to begin the initial set-up operation of Aptec Iraq once travel restrictions are eased. We look towards Iraqi citizens living in the UAE and in their home country to help us in this process. Since the sanctions are still in place, Aptec will initially work with the United Nations to coordinate all our humanitarian work," said Dr. Ali Baghdadi, President and CEO, Aptec Holdings Ltd.

"Aptec Gulf which recorded its biggest ever sales volumes in the GCC in 2002, has not included Iraq in the growth projections for the year 2003. With emergency projects of this nature, Aptec will not be looking at profit margins in Iraq in 2003. We intend to focus on the immediate IT support initiatives and are confident that re-establishing our presence in this previously vibrant market will work very well for Aptec in the long-term perspective. Our primary focus during this year will be to re-establish Aptec Iraq in order to build an IT infrastructure. The need of the hour is to create a strong technological backbone that will assist in re-building traditional distribution channels. With regards to humanitarian aid, the logistics pose a substantial challenge. We are working on channeling our support and medical supplies through Kuwait and Jordan, via the United Nations, USA and the economic department in the UK," Dr. Baghdadi added.

Before the sanctions, Aptec Iraq supplied a wide range of IT products and services to the Iraqi market. These included mini computers, personal computers and peripherals, home computers and mainly bilingual software for IBM compatibles developed by the Research & Development Department of Aptec UK. In the absence of a mature channel during that period, Aptec dealt with key corporate accounts besides conducting training programs for major universities in Iraq.

Aptec Iraq covered various Iraqi territories during its previous operations in the country. The customer base covered Basra in the south, Al Kut and Baghdad, central Iraq and as far as Mawsal and Arbil in the north. The office was manned by highly qualified Iraqi engineers and administrators.

"After 10 years of sanctions, much has changed in Iraq. But the country has always been advanced in terms of IT technology and skills. Aptec will partner with IT vendors in Iraq through a support team that will be stationed in the country. The team will aid Iraqi professionals in providing generic training to reseller channels, which need to be established in due course. This will be followed by product-specific training related to the various vendors who are part of the Aptec portfolio," said Baghdadi.

"We have received very positive feedback from major vendors in our efforts to re-establish an efficient IT distribution network in Iraq. Several multinational IT vendors have expressed their willingness to cooperate with us in this endeavor. At present Aptec is looking at warehousing capabilities, which will initially be located in Kuwait, Dubai and Jordan until appropriate warehousing options are made available within Iraq. Initially the Iraq office will be administered through Aptec Gulf with the aim of making it an independent operation within six months of opening," he added.

Aptec is currently in communication with the contract awarding bodies within the US Aid-Iraq desk, Trade Partners Iraq Desk in the UK and the UN Office for the Iraq programme.


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