IJMA3, ICT Associations as Sector Representative:
ICT continues to play an important role in the growth of national economies throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. As the ICT sector continues to grow and mature, the ability of the ICT industry to be able to advocate for enabling regulatory and legislative environments, make connections with international ICT stakeholders, and to assert the importance of ICT on the national and regional agenda becomes ever more important. More and more, it is the industry associations representing national ICT interests in each country that are driving this agenda.
IJMA3 was formed in 2004 to support the interests of these national ICT associations, and to help these associations take advantage of opportunities for cooperation and cooperative development. IJMA3 continues to advocate effectively on behalf of our member associations, the national ICT associations of 13 countries throughout the MENA region, including Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
Our activities as the regional representative of national ICT associations take on several main components, including:
Advocacy: Issue advocacy on behalf of member associations, in particular lobbying key decision makers for enabling regulatory and legislative agendas, and creating a “buzz” around the ICT sector that emphasizes ICT in local economic development. Effective advocacy relies on the effective mobilizing of coalitions, and IJMA3 has proved effective in mobilizing the domestic and regional will to promote the interests of ICT enterprises throughout the region. Furthermore, IJMA3 has been very effective at ensuring that the voice of the regional ICT sector is on an international level. Our membership in the World IT and Services Alliance (WITSA), the global representative of the ICT industry, ahs been an effective way of accomplishing this.
Commercial promotion: Commercial enterprises are at the heart of our national member associations, and IJMA3 has served as an effective champion for their interests. We support regional businesses through a variety of mechanisms, including arranging for business delegations, providing business-to-business matching services, and arranging for participation in key regional trade fairs such as GITEX and Termium.
Research and documentation: Accurate and well-synthesized information and documentation plays a key role in realizing the ambitions of our member associations, as well as their member companies. IJMA3 plays a central role in the development and sharing of key information services, both in providing a virtual library for the publications of our regional members, and in developing our own research and commentaries. As an information clearing house of the regional ICT sector, IJMA3 allows for the cross-fertilization of ideas to take place for key ICT stakeholders around the region. In addition, our regular newsletters play an important role in keeping all members of the regional ICT sector well informed.
ICT has a unique role to play in allowing for the countries of the MENA region to achieve and exceed their economic, social, and development goals. Major challenges continue to exist. We need to ensure that our workforce continues to be able to adapt to shifting market conditions, and embrace current and future market opportunities, as they arise. We need to ensure that governments understand the unique and dynamic ways in which the ICT industry operates, and the importance of providing enabling regulatory conditions. We need to guard against the threat of e-migration, whereby the best and the brightest ICT talents migrate out of the region toward more rewarding opportunities. We need to ensure that the current deficiency of Arabic language internet content continues to be urgently addressed. And we need to ensure that ICT continues to be leveraged toward the fulfillment of the critical development challenges facing the region.
These are real challenges, requiring real work and real solutions. IJMA3 continues to be uniquely well positioned to be able to take on these challenges, and the challenges of the next generation.