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Singapore ready to share enterprise expertise with Gulf

IDA Singapore wants to engage with ME private sector and not just governments

IDA Singapore believes companies in the Middle East can benefit from collaborating with Singapore firms.
IDA Singapore believes companies in the Middle East can benefit from collaborating with Singapore firms.

SINGAPORE: While the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore has long been collaborating with governments in the Middle East, it is now reaching out to companies in the region that are interested in drawing on the enterprise-level expertise of Singapore firms.

Shaik Umar, the Middle East centre director for IDA Singapore, says that there are over 2,000 infocomm firms in the island country that can assist Gulf companies in a number of areas including intelligent building solutions, mobility applications, transport, healthcare, payments and banking and finance.

And while companies in the Arab world can just as easily partner with Singapore firms directly, IDA Singapore promises to recommend only "credible and verified" companies to Middle East clients.

P. Ramakrishna, director of Enterprise Infocomm at IDA Singapore, believes that there is a lot to be gained from collaboration.

"Generally speaking, many Middle East firms are now involved in product development or systems integration. Singapore companies have gone beyond that to now develop solutions for various verticals, and even moved on from systems integration to managed services.  There is a high value in just sharing knowledge as well," Ramakrishna said.

IDA Singapore has traditionally focused on working with government entities in the Gulf, which Umar believes is the right approach since "it's the government that always takes a lead" in IT development.

"There are three steps to our focus. First we link government to government, then industry to industry, like from one IT council to another IT council, and then finally business to business, which is at an initial level right now," he explained.

Umar recently stated that the main problems plaguing the Middle East's IT industry is the digital divide and lack of skilled talent.