NEW YORK -- The sudden eruption of street protests in Egypt has tumbled the world stock market, as Egypt virtually cut itself off Friday from the rest of the world. Both cell phones and Internet are blocked.
Egypt, an American ally and a recipient of annual aid close to $1.5 billion, is the biggest country in the Arab world. The crisis there, triggered by the popular overthrow of the autocratic government of Tunisia, is endangering the region’s uneasy peace.
Politically speaking, the unrest in Egypt “has changed the White House agenda overnight,” reported NPR.
Financially, “stocks suffered their biggest one-day loss in nearly six months on Friday as anti-government rioting in Egypt prompted investors to flee to less risky assets to ride out the turmoil,” according to Reuters.
Connecting the dots on Egypt with the technology world, the Next Silicon Valley reported that “Egypt is by no means a technology backwater.” The site referred to the press release issued last summer, in which Egypt laid out its plan to build reputation as innovation powerhouse. “This makes the latest developments in Egypt all the more disturbing. Situation is very volatile,” noted the Next Silicon Valley.
Most notably, Egypt is founder of the “Smart Village,” a modern business park outside Cairo. “Currently home to 120 entities including over 20 multi-national companies and 28,000 professionals, it is expected to host more than 500 companies and more than 100,000 employees by 2014,” the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt for Technology Policies noted last summer.
Other high-tech programs in Egypt include the nation’s Nanotechnology Center, launched in 2008. It was established as a partnership among IBM, Cairo University and Nile University, with support from Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency and the Science and Technology Development Fund.