In response to a challenge put forward by his Majesty King Abdullah II in 1999, int@j directed its efforts at devising a comprehensive framework for Jordan's ICT sector, which resulted in the REACH initiative. REACH (1999-2005) is Jordan's national blueprint for nurturing a vibrant, export-oriented, and internationally competitive ICT sector. The strategy focused on developing a supportive regulatory framework, providing an enabling infrastructural environment, offering advancement programs to the industry, availing capital and finance, and carrying out human resources development initiatives.
The REACH initiative’s continuation and int@j's leading initiative; the National ICT Strategy (NIS), was created in support of the Kingdom's proactive efforts to improve its citizens' living standards through the National Agenda. The reformed strategy (2007 - 2011) & the revised one serving (2013-2017) headed by int@j encompasses a number of revised policies and directions that aim at taking advantage of new markets, enhancing business maturity, investing in research & development, capitalizing on regional demand, cultivating foreign investments, and improving the ICT labor market.
The purpose of the revised strategy (2013-2017) is to provide Jordan with a defined strategy for addressing areas of weakness and opportunity for the purpose of improving the role of ICT in Jordan’s economic development and job creation. The strategy attempts to be aligned with the Government of Jordan Policy in the Telecommunications and IT Sectors in all its recommendations. As with REACH, the NIS continues to focus significantly on eliminating regulatory challenges by advocating for and on behalf of the private sector to maintain a legislative environment that fosters growth and advancement.
ICT provides a powerful paradigm for economic development. ICT has evolved into an internationally known language/standard. A competent ICT professional in Jordan can develop products and services which can be implemented in and have value in global markets. It is this opportunity which is afforded by ICT which makes it imperative for Jordan to take as much advantage of this opportunity. Being able to take full advantage of this opportunity requires that the business environment be competitive with international economies. It is only in this manner that structural impediments can be removed allowing Jordan’s ability to compete to rest on the abilities of its people.
As such, it is important that ICT infrastructure be continually maintained at the levels found in competing economies, and creative means to be pursued to overcome the government’s inability to finance infrastructure development, as well as education, training and certification, that play an important role in determining sustainable competitiveness and longevity. Jordan already is well known for its university system. However, the university system is not agile enough to remain completely relevant with the demands of the ICT sector. Moreover, the benchmark of a knowledge base industry is the industry’s ability to develop intellectual property. This revised strategy has provided a variety of recommendations regarding IP. Export development was highlighted as essential to developing sustainable economic growth and job creation. The Jordanian economy is too small and poor at present to fuel substantial economic growth. Exports to larger and/or wealthier countries are required to develop and sustain job creation, as well as sustainably improve company revenues and profitability. Finally, the strategy covers the issue of ICT diffusion as a necessary requirement for economic growth.
Accordingly, the strategy defines 4 high-level strategic targets to be achieved by 2017:
Main int@j Pillars, driven by private sector to support achieving the strategy targets, and forming an acceleration engine for sector growth and enablement:
• Exports Development: Increasing regional markets penetration, enhancing our companies/ products positioning & visibility, and enabling sector scalability through Markets Information Services and Trade Missions and Promotion.
• Investment Development: Enabling investment readiness and attractiveness, and creating a financing channel that will contribute to raising our existing companies’ & investment ecosystem maturity, exposure, and readiness to compete regionally and internationally.
Investment Development includes the Deal Makers Weekend, previously named “Invest in ICT”, an annual exclusive regional investment matchmaking event where regional and international investors and aspiring companies and entrepreneurs and companies are brought together for business matchmaking and interaction.
• HR Development: Empowering a reliable and sustainable pool of resources that will enhance employment rates, and will maintain the Jordanian resources’ edge known for their unique technical capabilities.
HR Development includes Industry-Academia Skills Gap Assessments, Sector Salary Scales Studies, and Employment Programs such as the Graduate Internship & Employment Program whereby the program provides a subsidy of 50% of fresh graduate’s employee’s salary during the first 12 months of employment.
• IP & Startups: Enabling innovation through the diffusion of ICT in other industries to create an edge in our sector’s offerings, and to cover regional gaps in certain areas that will create niches lead by Jordanian ICT companies, and facilitate existing ecosystem to better capture existing IP & products to be properly packaged for commercialization, and empowering the startups community to grow their contribution to the economy.
IP and Startups include Startup Series Sessions for companies to keep track of the ICT industry dynamics and allow sharing experiences among industry members, and the Blue Ocean Council to guide and enable innovation and IP in the ICT industry, promote originality of ICT solutions to meet local, regional and international markets’ needs, and strengthen know how in the ICT industry technically and business wise in various disciplines. For more information contact BOC@intaj.net
• Connectivity: Maintaining and developing the infrastructure to ensure our advancement in enabling growing online/mobile and creative emerging industries, and advocating for stable legislative environment that will encourage continuous infrastructure update and investment.