Are Flagan on Mon, 3 Mar 2003 01:09:31 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> wsis plan of action: civil society's priorities

Hot on the heels of the exhaustive plan of action for WSIS, the news that
Red Herring will close its doors and cease publication of what, for many (in
the end only some), was a semi-critical voice of that proverbial tech bubble
arrived. While its epitaph may read as a magazine that "questioned" the rise
and fall of bloated dot-com stocks, it is quite obvious that this tenuous
disagreement was more of a boardroom banter over business plans than another
assessment of the information society. Red Herring was, of course, its own
namesake. For its final issue, currently found on their web site, the
feature story ends with the prognosis of another boom. Although this marks
the end of red herring rhetoric (from this particular quarter), one can only
hope that the WSIS would tone down the rambling thunder of familiar
aphorisms in its own IT crusade for "civil" society. Per the below, the
technology oasis has clearly turned into the same watering hole for,
supposedly, diametrically opposed agendas. The question is where the bottled
water will be when it runs dry -- this time.

The related bumper sticker: Bomb them forward to the IT revolution.


Technology Oasis 
Ennis Rimawi on Jordanšs IT prospects.


What has happened since the U.S. tech crash?
At our peak in 2000, we were valued at over $60 million. Then 80 percent of
our client base disappeared. In mid-2001 we started paying more attention to
the Middle East market, but it was only last summer that we started
aggressively focusing on it. Last year, 40 percent of our business came from
there; today 70 percent comes from places like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.

There's now full intellectual property law enforcement in Jordan. What does
this mean for the IT industry there?
Jordan is now part of the World Trade Organization and has a free-trade
agreement with the United States. As a result, Jordan has conformed to
intellectual property requirements in terms of regulations and enforcement.
This gives clients additional assurance.

How do world events, like a possible war in Iraq, affect Jordan's tech
With the Gulf countries, world events have actually been an accelerator to
bringing us business. In a way, the countries feel abandoned and are happy
to see a company like ours in the region. You can expect that during any
war, things would slow down. But after the situation is resolved in Iraq, I
predict there will be more tech investment in the region, especially more
investment in Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. Immediately after their war ended,
there was a flood of investment in the country. Iraq has its own revenue
base, so we'll see a faster buildup of infrastructure and investment there.
The nations around Iraq will be key suppliers of technology. It could create
a boom in the region. 

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