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RIM to open first African development centre in Egypt

BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) is set to open its first developer centre on the continent.

According to daily news site Ahram Online, the centre will be based in Smart Village — a dedicated business and tech park — just outside Cairo and will hire Egyptian software engineers.

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RIM says it was drawn to Egypt because of the role technology played in organising protests during the country’s 2011 revolution.

According to RIM’s North Africa head Ben Quirin, the company hasn’t been put off by the current political climate in Egypt.

Since the overthrow of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, the country has been under military rule.

He did not, however, give an indication of how much RIM is looking to put into the development centre.

According to Quirin, one application currently in development updates Egyptians about the up-coming national elections.

The Canadian manufacturer’s decision to invest in emerging markets such as Egypt makes sense given that it saw a 140% increase in BlackBerry subscribers in the Middle East in 2011. A sharp contrast to the 45% drop in US sales in the same period.

RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie recently retired on the back of reported revenues of US$4.19 billion — down 19% from Q3 — substantially below expectations of US$4.54 billion.

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