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Iraq ICT Alliance formed

The newly formed Iraq Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Alliance was officially launched during the recent Rebuild Iraq conference and exhibition held in Amman, Jordan.

The newly formed Iraq Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Alliance was officially launched during the recently held Rebuild Iraq conference and exhibition held in Amman, Jordan.

Comprising multinational IT vendors and service providers, Iraqi IT-focused companies and donor organisations, the new alliance has been set up as a public-private sector partnership working to promote ICT development in Iraq.

The launch of the new alliance was announced by Dawn Liberi, mission director for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Iraq. “The projects being implemented by the Iraq ICT Alliance will help improve schools, create jobs, and enhance productivity, and we thank our corporate partners and other donors for working with USAID on this important initiative,” stated Liberi.

Multinational IT companies involved in the Iraq ICT Alliance include BearingPoint, Cisco, CA, Cyber Learning, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Oracle and Tejari. Representatives from eight of these companies attended the launch meeting in Amman alongside more than twenty Iraqi government officials and businesspeople as well as several experts from the US Government and the United Nations.

Local Iraqi organisations involved in the project include IcomPort, InterGlobe, IraqCom, Iraqi ICT Association, Near East Resources and RiTS. The Alliance will encourage the formation of new, and expansion of existing development projects in the ICT sector with a particular focus on training programmes targeting Iraqi women and youth.

Some of the activities proposed at the Alliance launch included improved curriculum in universities for computer programmers; low-cost internet access for schools and community centres; software and training for a government procurement system, and an online employment database in Arabic. The Iraq ICT Alliance is the first Office of Global Development Alliance (GDA) activity to be implemented by the USAID Mission in Iraq.

Various projects have already been carried out or are underway in Iraq with the assistance of partner organisations. Intel donated ninety notebook PCs to the Iraqi ICT Association while Cisco, working hand-in-hand with the United Nations ESCWA Iraq task force has equipped four regional six local networking academies as part of a wider plan to establish 34 academies across Iraq. Software giant Oracle has provided technology and curriculum to Iraqi universities, trained more than 200 government officials on various software applications and carried out industry specific workshops for oil, aviation, and healthcare sectors.

A wide range of future projects are also planned including the possibility of setting up a PC manufacturing plant in Baghdad, creating a ‘Made in Iraq’ brand in the process. According to the Iraq ICT Alliance’s website, this facility would be owned and operated by Iraqis and supported by multinational companies.

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