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Aptec plans to set up Iraq operations by August

Aptec plans to resume distribution operations in Iraq by August of this year, and will also launch Aptec-Care a humanitarian project to help medical services in the country

Aptec has been outlining its strategy for resuming operations in Iraq. The distributor has announced plans to re-open its office in the country, and also to launch a humanitarian aid project that will provide IT infrastructure to help provide health services in Iraq.

The company was active in the country until 1990, when UN sanctions effectively closed the country to legitimate IT businesses, and now the aim is to revive its business there.

The humanitarian project, called Aptec-Care will help provide IT equipment and support for the health services and the new government of Iraq, to improve the flow of medical supplies to the country.

Dr Ali Baghdadi, president and CEO of Aptec explained: “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,” he added.

Aptec-Care will be working with US Aid Iraq, the UK’s Trade Partners Iraq and the the United Nations Office for Iraq to help create a communications backbone that can then be used to facilitate the provision of services to Iraqis. The project, and the Aptec Iraq operations will not be focused on profit for 2003, as it is more important to provide assistance to the country, said Baghdadi.

“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,” Baghdadi commented.

Before sanctions were implemented, Aptec had a thriving business in Iraq, according to the company, with operations in Baghdad and Al Kut in the centre, Basra in the south and Mawsal and Arbil in the north of the country. Business lines included mini computers, PCs and peripherals, and bilingual software developed by Aptec in the UK.

Baghdadi said that although the country has suffered under sanctions, he is confident that Aptec will be able to help revive the Iraqi IT market. Major vendors are showing significant interest in the country, and Aptec will also help with training for Iraqi channel partners.

“After ten 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.

“Several multinational IT vendors have expressed their willingness to cooperate with us in this endeavour. 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 concluded.

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