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Middle East Telecoms Reviewed By Lucent Exec

Lucent exec Fernand Hollevoet at a recent conference highlighted telecom factors and solutions affecting the Middle East, as well as the challenges and opportunities for businesses as the Internet age approaches.

Hollevoet, Lucent Technologies Business Communications Systems' (BCS) regional director for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), spoke on business opportunities in emerging markets at the recent Middle East Telecoms '99 conference in Cairo, Egypt.

"Business must control its own destiny, overcome obstacles, have vision and courage to create long term opportunities, particularly in the emerging markets of the Middle East," said Hollevoet. "At different stages of IT sophistication, state-of-the-art telecommunications will help boost business opportunities, and realising this, these countries are investing heavily in their telecommunications infrastructures."

Telecommunications and general business "go hand-in-hand" as the region's economies are diversifying, deregulating and liberalising some services, with such moves offering opportunities to a range of global investors like Lucent Technologies, Hollovoet explained.

"Electronic commerce is gaining popularity and more and more companies are realising its benefits as an extremely time and cost-effective way of doing business," he added. "Made possible by telecommunications, the resultant impact on our sector for more innovation will be monumental."

Hollovoet said that telecom advances are only as successful as a country's willingness to accept the new services, and pointed to partnerships between global players and local business as "positive proof that the Middle East is setting the agenda for many other parts of the world to follow."

"The Middle East and Africa will not be left behind as the rest of the world marches on," concluded Hollevoet.

Lucent Technologies BCS established regional headquarters for the Middle East and Africa in Bahrain in 1996.