Middle East IT industry keeps on growing

The downturn in hi-tech industries may be causing problems for companies around the world, but the Gulf has so far been able to avoid the slump.

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By  Alex Marklew Published  May 11, 2001

The hi-tech industries may be taking a battering on the world’s stock exchange, but the Gulf’s IT industry is stronger than ever according to a senior industry official.

Looking at Kuwait’s successful e-government initiative, as well as other similar developments around the region, Alakh Verma said that the worldwide downturn had so far not affected the Middle East.

“Kuwait has big plans and is in the process of finalising them,” said Verma, business development manager for alliances at Oracle Systems Middle East.

“Oman has already come out with its programme for a complete transition to online processes by its government departments, as has Dubai.

“We have so far not seen any slowdown in the contracts hitting the markets,” he said.

“Demand is still there from large companies, and organisations still want to automate their processes and shift from a legacy system.”

Verma also believes the local IT bubble is not going to burst in the immediate future.

“There are also major projects coming through on the application service provider front in Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE,” he said.

“As for the small and medium enterprises, the market is still ripe and we have not seen any delays,”

However, Verma is aware that this situation cannot last forever, and expressed some concern over the long-term prospects for IT in the region.

“Things could change in the next six months,” he said. “If at all any impact from the US slowdown becomes evident in these markets, it would be by year-end.”

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