The Jordanian government signed on Thursday an agreement with Microsoft Corporation aimed at bringing the IT vision of King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein II to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The enterprise agreement, which will cover all the government’s software requirements, is a first step in Jordan’s stated vision to transform the country into a technology research and development hub for the region.
“We firmly believe that technology adoption from a governmental, social and economic point of view is essential to the growth and stability of the Jordanian economy and society,” said King Abdullah II. “This agreement with Microsoft is a step towards our vision to transform Jordan into a knowledge-based technology center to utilize our most precious resource, our youth.”
Attending the signing ceremony that took place in New York city were King Abdullah II, prime minister Ali Abul Ragheb, deputy prime minister Mohammad Halaiqah, chief of the royal court Fayez Tarawneh and an entourage of senior Jordanian government officials. Representing Microsoft was Bob Vellone, Microsoft vice president of the eastern region of the United States, and Bahram Mohazzebi, general manager of Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean (GEM) in the Middle East.
“The Jordanian government, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah is firmly on the right track towards transforming its economy into an IT savvy center of knowledge,” said Bob Vellone, after the signing. “Microsoft is as committed, as it always has been, to helping Jordan achieve improved economic prosperity and to enrich the lives of its citizens by focusing on information technology.”
King Abdullah II, a long time proponent of the use of technology as a driving force behind achieving economic growth and prosperity held meetings with senior Microsoft officials and Microsoft chief software architect Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last January where they discussed ways in which Microsoft could help achieve his vision. Follow up meetings were then held when Microsoft president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Michel Lacombe, visited Jordan and held discussions with the King and his government.
Jordan began working on plans last year to make the computer industry the Kingdom's third largest source of hard currency after minerals and tourism. The government’s plan is to create 30,000 new IT-related jobs by 2004, raise exports, especially of computer software, to $550 million from $15 million last year and to attract $150 million in direct foreign investment.
“Having been involved in the region for over a decade and having worked with the Jordanian private and public sectors on the issue of IT development, I believe that the aggressive targets Jordan has set for itself are achievable,” said Mohazzebi. “I am very proud that Microsoft will be a part of this historic transformation and will be looking forward to working closely with the government of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah to meet the country’s long term objectives.” — (MEBG-Albawaba)
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