29 November 2006 - Opening Remarks By Ms Tham Ai Chyn, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry & Cluster Development), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Media Luncheon, The Diplomatic Club, Doha, Qatar.
Opening Remarks By Ms Tham Ai Chyn, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry & Cluster Development), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Media Luncheon on 29 November 2006, at The Diplomatic Club, Doha, Qatar.
Dr Hessa Al-Jaber, Secretary General, ictQATAR,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I would first like to thank Dr Hessa Al Jaber for her kind remarks and for her unfailing support and commitment in making our collaboration a success. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank her team as well for their co-operation and hard work since we've embarked on our collaboration together.
2. Our achievements today are testament to the shared goals and belief in the importance of ICT as a key enabler that will help to transform the public, private and people sector.
3. IDA and ictQATAR's ICT journey together started in June 2005 when Dr Hessa first visited Singapore We cemented our collaboration further in March 2006 when we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on ICT co-operation. In that MOU, both parties agreed to identify possible ICT projects on which to co-operate, and where appropriate, involve Singapore enterprises in the project implementation. The focus areas were in government and various economic sectors, such as healthcare and education.
Results of our Collaboration Between IDA and ictQATAR
4. The first ICT project identified under our MOU was the eSchoolbag. The eSchoolbag is part of Qatar's e-Education strategy. This is to encourage the use of ICT to allow students and teachers to enrich their learning experience and help realize their potential. Through our experience with Singapore's BackPack.NET project, IDA assisted in identifying Singapore companies with the necessary experience to support ictQATAR in the project.
5. Singapore infocomm companies, iCell Networks, Amdon Consulting and Heulab Pte Ltd, were engaged by ictQATAR to implement the project in September this year. The pilot project with the Al-Wakra Independent Preparatory School for Girls in Doha involves Science, Mathematics and English lessons delivered through tablet PCs.
6. Our companies were able to leverage and share their experience in the Backpack.Net project they had implemented in Singapore. The benefit of their previous experience is shown in the fast implementation as well as the knowledge of incorporating ICT within the curriculum, which would help to enhance both teaching and learning.
7. Earlier, you had also witnessed the signing of agreement between ictQATAR and Ecquaria for the development and implementation of Qatar Services Infrastructure. That would be the second ICT project, to be implemented under the IDA and ictQATAR MOU.
8. Other Singapore companies beyond the IDA and ictQATAR collaboration also had successes in developing ICT solutions for Qatar. A most recent example would be the Doha Games Fleet Management that involves TMS LLC, the appointed transport management company for the Asian Games 2006. A Singapore company, GT&T Engineering had implemented a customized transport management system which will track the 300 or more buses carrying athletes, officials and judges during the Asian Games.
9. We hope to encourage more Singapore infocomm companies to participate in Qatar's ICT development
Re-affirmation of Singapore's Commitment in Middle East
10. Yesterday, IDA and ictQATAR re-affirmed our collaboration through a second MOU. This MOU seeks to outline the understanding and the roles of ictQATAR and IDA in the implementation of the identified ICT initiatives.
11. More importantly the MoU serves as a catalyst for further infocomm collaborations between Qatar and Singapore. Besides accelerating the projects that we are discussing, we also hope to explore opportunity to develop new ones.
12. With the strong support from ictQATAR, combined with the good bilateral relations our two countries enjoy, Doha is a good place for IDA to establish a presence. Hence, I am extremely pleased to announce that we will set up an IDA office here in Doha.
13. The office will enable us to better support our collaboration with ictQATAR and it also serves to reinforce our commitment to Qatar and the Middle East region.
14. The IDA office has three broad aims. Firstly, to strengthen relations with key government agencies and trade bodies across the region. Secondly, to facilitate collaboration and exchanges between governments and businesses. Thirdly, to promote Singapore's infocomm industry and its companies, and facilitate access for Singapore companies in the Middle East.
15. The Middle East is a fast growing market. There are many opportunities for growth, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between our governments and the private sector. We hope to capitalise on these opportunities together with Qatar.
16. Today is an exciting day for IDA. We look forward to strengthening our close working relationship with ictQATAR and bring about significant benefits to both organisations and countries.
17. Dr Hessa, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you.