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Projected ICT strategy to make Jordan hub for sector — Shweikeh

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 22,2015 - Last updated at Oct 22,2015

AMMAN — The government said Thursday it plans to launch a strategy that will function as a roadmap to make Jordan a regional ICT hub in 2016.

“The strategy, which is reinitiating the REACH initiative that Jordan first launched in 1999, will detail action plans, projects and measures required to genuinely turn the Kingdom into an ICT hub in the region,” ICT Minister Majd Shweikeh told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a national workshop on the ICT sector.

“We are all here today to draft the strategy that will extend from 2016 until 2025. All ICT stakeholders are taking part in the formulation of this strategy with the direct support of the Royal Court,” said the minister.

The 2016-2025 REACH initiative will work on finding practical solutions to challenges facing the ICT sector. 

It will also engage all stakeholders in implementation and set targets for Jordan to lead the region in the ICT field, which already contributes about 12 per cent to the Kingdom’s GDP, said the minister.

The strategy, Shweikeh added, will focus on the development of human resources, facilitating access to finance and enhancing infrastructure to create jobs.

At the workshop, attended by scores of representatives and experts in the ICT sector, Bashar Hawamdeh, chairman of the ICT Association of Jordan ([email protected]), said it is crucial for the new strategy to focus on easing ICT companies’ access to finance and credit, as this is one of the major obstacles they face.

“The new strategy should also focus on having stable legislation as repeated change and fluctuation in laws turns investors away,” said Hawamdeh.

He also called for granting a set of incentives and tax exemptions to companies working in the field, stressing the importance of registering intellectual property for Jordanian IT products and software. 

“Intellectual property will help IT companies grow and penetrate new markets.” 

Experts at the workshop stressed that access to finance remains a critical barrier to the success of entrepreneurial businesses in Jordan.

 

They also focused on the need to increase Jordan’s IT exports, which are steadily growing, stressing the need to remove obstacles that local IT companies face as competition from regional and international businesses is increasing and threatening the traditional markets for Jordanian companies.

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