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ICT take-up lagging in Middle East

Governments in the region need to form a development plan to encourage greater ICT adoption, say analysts.

According to research firm Booz Allen Hamilton, while there have been initiatives in some markets to boost uptake of ICT, such as in Jordan and the UAE, the Middle East as a whole is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to making the benefits of technology accessible.

"The importance in giving the populations of the Middle East access to ICT cannot be underestimated," Eddy Skaff, senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton told IT Weekly.

"In order to be competitive on the world stage, Middle East markets will have to prevail over current obstacles they face that threaten to hinder the successful implementation of an environment that supports and sustains ICT and its benefits," Skaff commented.

He highlighted the main problem as a lack of an holistic ICT development agenda at a national level.

Booz Allen Hamilton said this was one of three steps that governments needed to look at taking in order to drive ICT development in the Middle East.

In addition to the holistic approach to ICT, the firm pointed to a better development and understanding of the convergence between media and telecoms and the application of a systematic approach to planning and measuring ICT progress.

"Governments implementing a highly structured program that incorporates these approaches will more than likely see positive results, especially in the areas of dissemination of new technologies to greater numbers of people than before," stated Karim Sabbagh, vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton.

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