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Thu 18 Jan 2007 05:26 PM

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Oracle highlights the importance of training

We have talked before about the need to invest more in training in IT skills here in the region: for end-users, governments and technology firms alike.

We have talked before about the need to invest more in training in IT skills here in the region: for end-users, governments and technology firms alike.

A stark warning of the importance of this is given in our story this week that software giant Oracle may find its pace of growth slowed here in the Middle East if it can not get enough people trained in how to deploy its products. The story - based on interviews with a number of senior Oracle executives, including EMEA vice president Sergio Giacoletto - outlines just what will be the consequences for companies if they do not devote enough effort and investment here in the region.

Of course, we are not suggesting that IT firms alone should be expected to foot the bill for the Middle East's ICT skills training - any more than we would expect car manufacturers to pay for driving lessons for everybody here (although driving home on Sheikh Zayed Road it is tempting to wonder if anybody has ever paid for driving lessons in Dubai).

But if as a region we do not look at how we are investing in ICT skills, then we run the risk of falling further behind other parts of the world. While some countries in the Middle East are proving committed to investing in ICT development - Jordan springs to mind as a country which recognises the importance of such investment - others are not doing enough.

With an estimated internet penetration rate of just 1.5% across the Middle East's entire population of 350 million people, it is clear that there is considerable room for improvement. And that will help all of us to do better.

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