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New alliance puts out call

ITCA appeals to Middle East channel.

A newly formed association purporting to offer the ICT channel an international communication platform is urging Middle East IT companies to join the group. The International Technology Channels Association (ITCA) claims to be the first trade body in the technology sector to span multiple continents. Membership is open to vendors, distributors, resellers and service providers. The ITCA says its goals are to support the establishment of advanced training methods, construct an international co-operation network and collaborate in areas such as procurement to improve efficiency and quality.

A number of established trade associations and reseller buying groups are founder members of the ITCA including the ASCII Group, covering the US, Germany and India, CBC Amba in Denmark, and the UK-based Professional Computing Association.

German reseller group Synaxon, an umbrella company for contemporaries such as Akcent and ITeam, is also a significant founder, as is GlobalUP, an existing worldwide dealer initiative.

There are currently no direct founder members from the Middle East, but Frank Garrelts, founding president of the ITCA - and the man behind Akcent and GlobalUP - says the group already has interests in the region. "ITCA's focus is international," he asserted. "Based on former GlobalUp members we count 67 countries including some Middle East members. We have partners in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi, Kuwait, the UAE and Iran, but there is room for more."

He added: "Although recognising the needs of hundreds of thousands of solution providers worldwide, the ITCA will not be a trade purchasing cartel - we set great value in this group being seen as a neutral forum for knowledge exchange and the initiation of international merchandising activities."

Basic membership to the ICTA is free, with Premium and Platinum members paying for an extended range of services.

Serving the needs of so many disparate markets clearly represents an ambitious task, but Garrelts - who recently gave advice to the Technology Distributors Association at its recent gathering of Middle East members - believes it is achievable.

"I must learn more about the Middle East market and I hope to get the knowledge from our partners in the region," he said. "But one of our targets is to bring together the different points of view in different regions."

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