MENA ICT Week in Bahrain
The MENA ICT Week which was recently held in Bahrain on January 26-28 reflects the Kingdom’s information, communications and technology credentials and the growing potential for foreign investment in the sector, according to Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
Kamal Ahmed’s comments come at the close of the international conference, one of the leading ICT events in the region. The theme, “Driving Economies for a Better Future”, was consistent with Bahrain’s long recognition of ICT not just as an important sector in its own right but as an enabler of continued economic growth, modernisation and competitiveness, he said.
“In Bahrain, we have long recognised the importance of ICT in further enhancing our business environment for international companies looking to access the trillion dollarGulf market. It is a crucial element in achieving the ambitions of Vision 2030 and the National Economic Strategy; to enable continued private sector growth, support further diversification of the economy and – ultimately – elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for Bahrainis.”
Earlier this year, Bahrain was ranked first in the Gulf and wider Middle East and 13th of 192 countries worldwide in the 2010 United Nations Global e-Government Readiness Survey. The UN noted that the assessment of the application of ICT to provide access and inclusion for citizens was a function of not only a country’s state of readiness but also its technological and telecommunication infrastructure, together with its level of human development. In March 2009, the Kingdom jumped eight places to 37th of 134 economies in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report.
Leading international ICT businesses that have already set-up regional offices in Bahrain include Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, WIPRO, Mahindra Satyam, Software AG, Netgear, and Tata Consultancy Services.