Official website of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the MENA-ICT Forum in Amman
Amman, Jordan
10 October 2010

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,

It is a pleasure to join this extraordinary gathering. Some who are here today, were among the very first to imagine the possibilities for regional ICT. Some are actively working forward, creating tomorrow's industry. More than a few are in both groups: the founders and the future of ICT in Jordan and beyond. It is thanks to all of you that Jordan's ICT sector has come this far and will go so much further.

This forum is part of the success you are creating. I congratulate the leadership of INT@J and the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology and all who are taking part. Ayman, Marwan, I am grateful for your kind tribute. I consider it a tribute to all those who are inspiring, creating and building this industry.

Let me also extend a special welcome to the many friends who are with us from across the region and the world. Partnerships are a powerful resource for ICT development. To all our guests today, thank you for sharing our path.

My friends,

Today and tomorrow your forum will be addressing concerns shared across the region, from the ICT ecosystem to the importance of Arabic content. You will look at strategic business issues, involving new products, services and emerging markets. The organisers want you, the participants, to own the discussions. Because it is all of you who will talk out the solutions and take action forward. I am here to wish you success, and to say a few words about why your success matters.

Only ten years ago, pioneering companies were still putting down roots; many others did not even exist. Today, Jordan has a 2.2 billion-dollar ICT industry, with expanding domestic, regional, and global positions. Yahoo's acquisition of Maktoob is only one sign of the high value placed on the capacity you have created. Across the industry, success is supported by a flow of new talent from our universities and new partnerships at home and abroad. Today, the one percent of our workforce involved in ICT contributes 14 percent of GDP. Just imagine the impact when our ICT workforce grows to five percent.

Your sector stands as a model of enterprise, showing what people can achieve when they work with conviction, passion, focus and ambition. In less than a generation, your sector has helped to alter the cultural perception of entrepreneurship throughout our country and our region. Just ask Oasis 500, Meydan, iPark, and others about the number of applications they are receiving.

My friends,

This industry has achieved what it has, against a backdrop of sharp economic and political challenges to our world. Regional conflict has been a major disrupter of development. We need to break this cycle. While the friends of peace work together for a lasting regional settlement, we must also, together, keep pushing for the region's economic future. That requires a new level of engagement; pooling the resources and expertise of government, business, education, the media and more. To build on strength, we need to keep asking the tough questions:

  • Is government doing enough to promote entrepreneurship?
  • What more can all our institutions do to support productive risk-taking and innovation?
  • What are the most effective ways to create, sustain, and keep industry talent?
  • How can we expand access to the opportunities afforded by this sector?

My friends,

I am confident you will find the answers. The ability to create, innovate, and cooperate are longstanding Jordanian strengths and part of the great heritage of the Muslim world. And they are key to our future.

So, to our entrepreneurs and ICT labour force, to developers and product managers, to private and public-sector partners and to the thousands of Jordanian youth who are studying to be tomorrow's ICT leaders: I say:
Unlock the potential. Imagine the future. Lead the way. You have Jordan's full support. And I am proud to count myself among your greatest champions.

Thank You.