Singapore, 29 November | For Immediate Release
Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore announced today their intent to set up its Middle East office in Doha.
Announcing the initiative, Ms Tham Ai Chyn, Assistant Chief Executive, IDA, said, "The strong relationship between our two countries and IDA's existing collaboration with ictQATAR, with which we share similar goals, made Doha an ideal location to support our activities in Qatar."
IDA wants to maximise opportunities in the Middle East for Singapore and its infocomm companies. Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) states are expected to spend between US$100 billion to US$150 billion annually over the coming few years to develop social and economic infrastructure. IDA's focus will be on e-government, infocomm security, healthcare, education, financial and telecommunications services. These are areas where Singapore has particular strengths gained from the development of its home market.
"We see enormous potential to share experience and information. We expect to develop and grow our relationship with ictQATAR not only here in Qatar but also joint partnerships for Singapore and Qatari businesses. Our Doha office will serve as our initial entry point to the Middle East to develop ICT opportunities within Qatar and eventually for the region," Ms Tham continued.
IDA's operation in Doha has three broad mandates. First is to strengthen relations with key government agencies and trade bodies across the region. Secondly, facilitate collaboration and exchanges between governments and businesses. Thirdly, promote Singapore's infocomm industry and its companies, and facilitate access for Singapore-based companies in Qatar and possibly throughout the Middle East. IDA's office in Doha will be fully operational by early 2007.
Today, ictQatar has also signed an agreement with Ecquaria Technologies, a local infocomm company, to implement the Qatar Services Infrastructure (QSi) project. This is the second ICT project being identified as a result of the MoU between IDA and ictQatar in March this year; the first being the eSchoolbag project that has already started its implementation. Each project involves Singapore infocomm companies, which IDA had introduced to ictQATAR.
The agreement between ictQATAR and Ecquaria will support Qatar's fast developing e-government initiative. QSi is based on Singapore's successful Public Service Infrastructure initiative and the project is expected to take six months to implement. It will provide the Government of Qatar with a rich and highly integrated centralised software platform, which will help to accelerate the delivery of public e-services on the Internet. The pilot scheme, Company Registration e-Service, will be in collaboration with Qatar?s Ministry of Economy and Commerce. It will speed up company registration in Qatar, removing the need for queuing at government departments. QSi will be owned by ictQATAR and implemented by Ecquaria, a Singapore infocomm company.
The first project, which was announced earlier under the IDA and ictQATAR MoU was the eSchoolbag pilot project. The eSchoolbag project forms part of Qatar's e-Education strategy through which ictQATAR wants to encourage the use of ICT to allow students and teachers to enrich their learning experiences and realise their potential. Through its experience with Singapore's BackPack.NET project, IDA assisted in identifying Singapore infocomm companies with the necessary experience to support ictQATAR in its ambitions.
Singapore infocomm companies, iCell Networks, Amdon Consulting and Heulab Pte Ltd, were engaged by ictQATAR to implement the project in September 2006. The pilot scheme, with Al-Wakra Independent Preparatory School for Girls in Doha, involves Science, Mathematics and English lessons delivered through tablet PCs. By early 2007, approximately 200 teachers and Grade 7 students would have completed their tablet PCs familiarisation programme and the first lessons would start using the tablet PCs.
Beyond the IDA and ictQATAR collaboration, other Singapore infocomm companies have also successfully implemented ICT projects within Qatar. One of which is the Fleet Management System developed by GT&T Engineering for the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006. This system will track the exact location of over 300 buses carrying athletes, officials and judges during the Games.
Ms Tham Ai Chyn, Assistant Chief Executive, IDA, said, "We are especially pleased that our Singapore infocomm companies are implementing some of the ICT projects identified under IDA and ictQATAR's MoU. It is a testament to the strong relationship that exists not only between our two countries but also our private and public sectors. This has enabled us to bring these projects to fruition quickly after the signing of our first MoU earlier in the year."
Dr Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of ictQATAR, said, "The people of Qatar are the beneficiaries of this close and rich collaboration with IDA. Ecquaria Technologies will enable Qatar to help accelerate the delivery of e-government services to citizens and businesses alike."
ISSUED BY CORPORATE & MARKETING COMMUNICATION DIVISION
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit www.ida.gov.sg
Ms Jenny NG
Senior Manager, Corporate & Marketing Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211-1341
Fax: +65 6211-2227