By Rob Corder
Kuwait's minister of communications and minister of finance announces plans to create an e-village in order to accelerate the country's IT industry development.
Plans are being finalised for the creation of an information technology-based e-village in Kuwait.Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad, minister of communications and minister of finance, told reporters at the opening of the Kuwait Info exhibition that the e-village would be used to promote Kuwait as a favourable investment and education centre. It would also act as a catalyst to increase the speed of IT development in the country."Today's information technology and communications companies have to be aggressive, innovative and providers of added value services to stay in business. It is a very competitive and fast moving industry," said Sheikh Ahmad.Sheikh Ahmad made no comment on the Kuwait Future Zone project, which has been running for a year and is working under a virtually identical manifesto as the e-village concept.The Kuwait Info exhibition also gave the country's communications service providers an opportunity to publicise their future plans.Quality Net, one of Kuwait's largest ISPs, used the show to announce that it will be rolling out ISDN services to home users. The service was previously only available to corporate clients.Pressure from the public and from competing service providers is also forcing the Ministry of Communications to accelerate its infrastructure improvements. Sheikh Ahmad demanded that the state's six main telephone exchanges are upgraded to digital technology within the next six months.He also admitted that new investment has been held up due to customers not paying their bills. "The MoC has considerable debts still to be colected from corporate clients and the ministry will initiate legal and executive action against uncooperative companies," he warned.