The Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP), which is funded by the German federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) along with the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy as PSDP’s political partner decided to target the Palestinian ICT sector through a strategic initiative that builds on the success attained so far in the sector, but also with an ambition to provide strategic direction to its future evolution into a fast growing and employment generating sector.
The Palestinian Information Technology Association of Companies (PITA) as a representative of the Palestinian companies active in the ICT sector in Palestine, joined the effort aiming to lead the development of a 3 year Strategic Plan that defines where the sector want to be, what exactly can be achieved and how.
Solutions for Development Consulting company (Solutions); a Palestinian consulting firm has led a technical team of consultants under the guidance and leadership of the partners; MNE, GIZ and PITA to assess, facilitate and develop the strategic planning process.
Specifically, Solutions applied a disciplined and proven strategic planning approach that encompassed an in-depth situational analysis including stakeholders’ analysis, external environment analysis (Macro), and internal analysis of the local sector’s capabilities (Micro). An in-depth benchmarking of the ICT sector in Palestine against three other counties was conducted. The chosen three countries were Singapore Jordan and Egypt. A SWOT analysis was developed as a result. This helped identify the opportunities that the Palestinian ICT sector can leverage, e.g. the high regional spending on ICT and high demand for localized and culture-sensitive digital content.
All the above analysis was based on the considerable amount of data obtained through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research. This included an exhaustive set of secondary data sources as well as primary data, obtained through administrating a beneficiary questionnaire (directed to PITA members and non-members), a large number of one-on-one interviews with industry experts/leaders, as well as group interviews
The strategic planning process provided several venues for a wide participation from different actors in the sector aiming at building required commitment and ownership. Several workshops were held including a strategic planning 2 days retreat in which key representatives of all stakeholders participated.
Consensus among participants was reached to focus on the following four areas; in addition to strengthening PITA’s capacity.
The three-year strategy was evolved as a strategy for the Palestinian Private ICT sector and fully adopted by PITA; the sector representative organization.
The strategy has identified the following Strategic Framework which PITA fully adopted and committed itself to pursue in the following three years:
The Vision Statement: “A nation nurturing innovation and contributing to world knowledge”.
The Mission Statement: “To lead the ICT sector towards an innovation-based economy”
The Strategic Goals are:
- PITA operates efficiently, effectively and sustainably.
- The ICT business environment has been enhanced to enable the industry.
- The ICT sector has been effectively promoted and positioned in the local, regional and international markets.
- Sufficient qualified human capital exists in Palestine to boost the ICT sector.
- The competitiveness of Palestinian ICT enterprises in the local and international has been enhanced.
The evolved Strategic Framework was the tool which helped PITA and the Consultants to develop a detailed 3 year implementation plan stating the long, medium and short term impact and results aspired by the sector and PITA (both in West Bank and Gaza), identifying areas for development intervention and resources required for implementation.
PITA works in four ICT areas, and can provide the following services:
- Training and Consulting
- PITA needs to lobby NGO’s (local and international) to coordinate their activities with PITA. PITA currently has not been sufficiently engaged with ICT projects providing services to the sector in Gaza.
- PITA to play an active role in providing incentives for its members through different incentives program, such as adopting a code of conduct to be signed by members of PITA. Signing on the code of conduct would grant members to use PITA seal of quality on their products including a system for regulating training and services pricing.
- Provide and enforce standards for operation and pricing through a certification program of PITA members
- Grow PITA’s image in the market so that members can benefit from their memberships. Members can use PITA’s name in promoting their products and through providing a seal of quality for PITA members.
- Re-build PITA image to stand on equal distance from all. Work on up lifting PITA image and work on putting PITA back as an address for the ICT private sector.
- We need a vision from PITA regarding the telecom sub-sector growth strategy (currently PITA is not leading the development of this sector). Include strategic and planning persons that would help guide this sub-sector (Advisory board from outside the sector “think tank” that can feed PITA with ideas and information all the time.
- In the absence of a clear governmental role in guiding this sub-sector, PITA should develop a plan to identify objectives for telecom development and enhancing its productivity (Development and support the implementation of a successful business model).
- Provide a platform for coordination among the members of the sub-sector and MTIT.
- PITA should take the initiative to provide high skill and top management training to business owners and staff as well as Programs at the firm level.
- PITA is a coordinator and donor oriented. PITA should start to be more independent.
- PITA should work to change policies and laws. Example, Investment encouragement law cannot be applied on ICT investment due to the low investment cost of such businesses
- PITA to find donor support to projects
- PITA to advocate with local NGO’s to overlook the certificate of origin which cannot be provided at the moment as most of the equipment in Gaza are brought through the tunnels from Egypt.
- Work on solving the above mentioned issues in terms of agency agreements with the major equipment suppliers and also provide training for companies’ staff in the region.
- Provide a program that can qualify companies and train them on outsourcing skills.
- Lobby with the Gaza government stop the import of fake branded products through the tunnels.
Outcome1: PITA is a strong and sustainable platform representing and benefiting the Palestinian ICT sector
- 14 qualified staff in WB & Gaza available to implement PITA’s activities planned for 2012-2014
- 200 members associated with PITA
- 85% of members with good understanding of PITA’s role secured in order for PITA to implement its planned activities for the years 2012-2014
Outcome 2: The legal, regulatory and policy framework for the ICT sector has improved
- 2 ICT-related laws that have been modified and modernized
- 90% of previously reported issues or problems companies in each subsector face addressed
- 75% of stakeholders perceive PITA as a thought leader when forming or enhancing ICT related policies
- Level of responsiveness among policy makers
- 15% increase in size of investment in ICT in Palestine (need baseline)
Outcome 3: The innovation and creativity of the Palestinian ICT sector has been highlighted locally and internationally
- The perception of the Palestinian ICT sector
- 65% of surveyed international actors Positively perceive Palestinian ICT sector
- 70% of Palestinians stakeholders positively perceive the ICT sector
Outcome 4: The ICT human capitals’ ability to innovate and respond to industry demand is enhanced.
- 65% of PITA members satisfied with the quality of employee skills
- 50% increase in the number of Palestinian graduates employed by IT firms (Palestinian or otherwise)
- 4 successful R&D initiatives
Outcome 5: PITA members’ market share has increased in identified target markets
- 15% increase on average for each enterprise to their target markets
- 3 identified target markets
For more information: Palestinian ICT Private Sector 3 Year-Strategy and Development Plan.