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Sun 21 Jun 2009 01:54 AM

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Importance of ICT to UAE gov’t recognised in new report

UAE ranked 3rd of 134 in terms of recognising the importance of information technology.

ICT (Information and communication technologies) development remains an important component in the growth strategies of countries in the Middle East, according to a new report.The Network Readiness Index (NRI) of the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009 -  just published by the World Economic Forum and Insead - shows the UAE has spearheaded the region's strong performance with its ranking within the top three, from a list of 134 global economies, in the category "importance of ICT to government vision of the future."

Meanwhile it placed fifth in "government prioritization of ICT," 11th in "government procurement of advanced technology products" and 32nd in the "e-Government Readiness Index."

Overall, countries from the GCC led the way among their Middle East peers in the NRI rankings with the UAE at 27th followed by Qatar (29th), Bahrain (37th), Saudi Arabia (40th), Oman (50th) and Kuwait (57th). Jordan was the only non-GCC among the seven top Middle East countries, figuring at number 44 on the rankings.

"The Global Information Technology Report has credited the Middle East for achieving significant gains in network readiness.

''In particular, the rapid ICT development in the GCC has led the remarkable progress that has been seen across the Middle East, and GCC countries certainly deserve credit for their proactive efforts to elevate the level of infrastructure and the regulatory aspects of the IT environment in the region," said Jamil Ezzo, Director General, ICDL GCC Foundation.

The NRI 2008-2009 has been established to assess the different countries' preparedness to leverage ICT advances for increased competitiveness and development.

It specifically measures the presence of an ICT-conducive environment; the degree of preparation needed to use ICT for the three main national stakeholders: individuals, the business sector, and the government; and the actual use of ICT by the above three stakeholders.

"We believe that significant progress has been achieved in addressing the specific ICT requirements of both the government and the business sectors. ''However, with a significant number of people across the region still lacking the necessary skills and knowledge to leverage the existing ICT tools and services, we also believe that there remains much to be achieved in terms of empowering the public to harness the potential of various IT resources that are now widely available," concluded Ezzo.

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