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French Version

Istanbul’s CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia: Where East meets West

Attending CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia in Istanbul has left me with a lasting impression of the city’s position as a cross roads of civilization, and technologies!

Turkey stands today on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, and truly represents a lot of the East and West. By the East, I mean Eastern Europe and Western Asia, while the West is Western Europe.

At this event, co-organized by Turkish company InterPro and Deutche Messe of Hannover, you sense that Turkey is becoming a gateway to ex-Soviet Republics and previous Eastern Block countries, as exhibitors from Western Europe come here to generate business with Turkey and those countries. It’s a lot like the way Dubai is a gateway to Gulf markets. In that respect, Jordan’s software solution providers should take notice!

We need to look to markets beyond the typical Gulf States, that everyone is chasing.

The ex-Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and previous Eastern Block countries like Bulgaria, need IT solutions and services and are potentially huge markets with very big populations.

They are virgin markets, whose IT revolution only started in the 90s! Therefore, there still are many opportunities for Jordanian software companies.

What’s more, they are also geographically close and culturally similar to us to a certain extent, especially the Islamic republics the ex-Soviet Union.

Turkey itself needs assistance in ICT development. Speaking in the opening of CeBIT Bilisim, Mr Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey stated that Turkey is ‘behind’ in ICT development when compared to the European Union.

He talked about the need to make an e-transformation, and outlined some details of initiatives in e-learning and e-government which we in Jordan have been implementing for three years now. The Turkish government wants to train more than 18 million people, students and teachers.

The Turkish Government plans to embark on an ambitious and large-scale e-Government initiative, which also presents an opportunity for Jordanian companies who now have several years of experience in this field.

It is pleasing and gratifying to see that Jordan, a relatively small country, is ahead of Turkey in these areas. In order to better understand these opportunities, Jordan’s ICT professionals need to visit these countries or attend exhibitions that bring many companies and businesspeople from these markets to one place.

CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia, held between September 2 and 7, is one such place with over 800 participants from over 20 countries, of which five have special country pavilions.

It is very enlightening to see how this ‘side of Europe’ stands with regard to ICT. It should be more interesting to find out, in the years to come, if we in Jordan can benefit from ongoing developments in this part of the world.

Amman,09 15 2003
Zeid Nasser
The Star
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