Business & Economy
Written By: Adnan Hizam
Article Date: Jul 29, 2006 - 1:59:00 AM
Official staticistic projected an increase in Internet subscribers to 260 people per 10.000 by 2025.
During the past five years, the IT market in Yemen has experienced fast-paced growth, with more than 100 companies currently working in the Yemeni market, IT specialists said. They attributed this growth to the government’s support for bringing information technologies into the country and exempting the companies from customs.
The specialists also said that in the future, the IT market would grow even further because of people’s interest in modern technologies. According to a report, spending on hardware in the Arab world is projected to reach more than US $20 billion by 2009.
“There are only 18 computers for every 1,000 people in the Arab world, compared to a global average of 78.3 computers per 1,000, and Internet access is limited to 1.6 percent of the population. The region is expected to undertake massive investment in ICT development,” the report said.
The report said that the Arab world realizes the challenges it faces in the area of information and communication ICT technology and how it relates to overall human development. It said that regional governments would actually be spurring much of this investment, not only through ICT incentive programs, but also through their pursuit of e-government initiatives, which will drive their citizens to become more tech savvy. Every year, Yemen hosts the al-Jazeera Information Technology & Communication Exhibition (JITCOM). The 2006 exhibition took place last week.
Approximately 50 international companies in the field of computing, IT and communications took part in the exhibition, which ended on July 10. Yemeni officials said that the government is working to improve the IT market in the country, as the world is now focused on the IT economy. They said that IT has now become the basis of economic, social and civil progress.
They added that developments in information technology have helped the government improve its services to its citizens. Muamer Qassem, IT engineer, said that the current companies are trying to present their latest technological developments and services for the Yemeni people.
He said that growth is extremely positive due to increased interest from younger Yemenis in technological advances and the introduction of services aimed at giving more Yemenis financial access to computers and other IT products. He said that it was no longer enough for companies to merely import preexisting business strategies and technologies to Yemen. He also said that the Yemeni people’s desire to participate in IT has created competition among IT companies in the country.
Mohammed Ali, a student at Sana’a University, said that while most information technologies are imported, he hopes that in the future Yemen will be able to produce these technologies. Abdul-Salam Ali, a government employee, said that the reality of IT in Yemen isn’t up to the mark. It is neither available everywhere nor accessible to everyone.
The reason is that there are few people who can afford to pay for the service and even fewer who are familiar with its equipment. Official statistics projected an increase in Internet subscribers to 260 people per 10,000 by 2025. The government has set up Telecommunications and Information Technology “City” as part of its effort to strengthen IT awareness among citizens. The IT city is expected to cost about YR 2 billion.