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French Version

Middle East's biggest IT fair opens in Dubai

Event sees record number of participants

The Middle East's largest information technology fair opened in the emirate of Dubai on Sunday, with a record number of participants reflecting the booming IT industry in the region, organizers said.

The five-day GITEX 2005 show, now in its 25th year, features 2,724 exhibiting companies from 61 countries at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Lebanon was present at the launch of the GITEX 2005 show where Lebanese Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamadeh met with his U.A.E. counterpart Sultan al-Mansouri and U.A.E. Economy Minister Loubnah al-Qassimi. A series of meeting were scheduled to take place at an unspecified date to discuss telecommunication activities, as the Lebanese and U.A.E. parties agreed to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum said at the inauguration that the emirate was eager to become "the regional center ... for the promotion of 'Internet culture' in the Middle East and North Africa.""The venue, which stretches over 30,000 square meters, cannot cope with the growing number of international companies," he was quoted as saying by the state news agency WAM.He also announced plans for the establishment of an "exhibition city" in the Jebel Ali free zone, south of Dubai, laid out over an area of 500,000 square meters.

A statement by the organizers said GITEX was expected to draw 120,000 visitors, up by nearly four thousand from last year's figures.Helal Saeed Khalfan al-Marri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Center which organizes the event, said the number of national pavilions was up 14 percent from last year.Dubai, one of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates, has blazed the way forward for IT in the Middle East, setting up Dubai Internet City and engaging in many other lavish projects in a bid to become the region's e-capital.

Beirut,09 26 2005
Bechir Saade
The Daily Star
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