E-Government initiatives to grow in the Arab world

The Arab World is poised for a major round of privatisation and liberalisation milestones in telecommunications that will spur growth in regional electronic government initiatives, says the Arab Advisors Group.

  • E-Mail
By  Vijaya George Published  December 4, 2001

The Arab World is poised for a major round of privatisation and liberalisation milestones in telecommunications that will spur growth in regional electronic government initiatives. "A virtuous cycle for e-government is around the corner, brought about by growth in the use of the Internet, GSM and broadband," says the Arab Advisors Group. The Internet, communications and new media research consultancy says Arab countries—home to more than 250 million people—have yet to see truly liberalised communication sectors.

When they do, competition will bring: better service, expanding consumer bases for communication services and cost-based pricing. Liberalised markets will also enhance global investor interest in the region with greater opportunities to attract international operators,
vendors and finance.

The Arab Advisors Group, based in Amman, Jordan is to reveal new research into the infrastructure readiness for e-government of Arab states at a conference in Dubai on February 3, 2002. During the Forum, Jawad Abbassi, Arab Advisors Group's President, will examine the effects of liberalisation and privatisation on infrastructure and e-government initiatives. "Morocco is the clear market leader in liberalisation followed by countries like Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon," he said.

"The Gulf States are still monopoly countries with some level of competition in Kuwait (Internet and GSM) and Saudi Arabia (Internet). Clearly, countries that are facing economic hardships have been the leaders in recognising the role of telecommunication liberalisation in attracting investment and upgrading their once-dilapidated communications infrastructure," he added.

But delayed liberalisation has stifled growth in vital areas such as international Internet connectivity. According to recent Arab Advisors Group research, more than 740,000 Internet subscribers in eight Arab countries shared a grand total Internet bandwidth of only 777 mbps (by mid 2001). This combined Internet bandwidth for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Syria and the UAE paled in comparison to that available to Internet users in Europe and America. The combined bandwidth of the eight Arab markets was equal to that of only 518 cable modem subscribers in the US!

The Middle East e-Government Forum will hear of the latest e-government developments and challenges from throughout the region, including Dubai, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as international case studies from Australia and Europe. "Futurist" thinker Dr Simon Moores, advisor to the UK Government's Office of the e-Envoy and chairman of The Research Group, will chair the forum.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code