Intel boss opens Beirut finance centre

Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation, inaugurated the new Finance Competency Centre at the American University of Beirut (AUB) this week. The centre is designed to be a state-of-the-art technology venue...

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By  Patrick Phelvin Published  October 28, 2003

Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation, inaugurated the new Finance Competency Centre at the American University of Beirut (AUB) this week.

The centre, the first of its kind in the Middle East, was established in collaboration with software giants Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft and is designed to be a state-of-the-art technology venue providing students, software developers and engineers with the means to conduct research, development and training. It also offers fine-tuned applications tailored to the needs of financial service institutions.

"The Finance Competency Centre will allow the country to compete better in the global economy,” Barrett said at a news conference held at AUB’s West Hall.

The centre will bring the latest in Intel-based computing solutions and knowledge to Lebanon and the Middle East's financial services industry. The centre will showcase the latest technologies and is expected to benefit more than 400 banks in the Arab world and 2,500 students from the various faculties of AUB.

”This new centre establishes a key platform for the transfer of knowledge and developing applications that will enable Lebanon and the Arab world to create a world-class banking and financial services sector,” Barrett added.

Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) chairman Samih Barbir said Barrett’s trip is a vote of confidence in Lebanon and the first of its kind in many years by a CEO of a multinational company of Intel’s size.

Barbir said the visit was an opportunity to show the chipmaker giant the IT success stories in Lebanon and get input on the best way to develop the IT sector to increase its investment appeal.

Barbir said the Lebanese IT sector has steadily developed over the past year, averaging around 15% annual growth, with an estimated turnover of US$250 million in 2001. He said the IT sector in Lebanon now comprises some 500 companies employing more than 5000 IT professionals, with software design gaining importance. The annual turnover of software design companies is US$100 million.

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