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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented a strong initiative to become the strongest networked society in the Arabian Gulf. Today they are leading the Arab world in national ICT infrastructure. The road for the UAE has not been easy however. It all started back in 1973, when the UAE began a profound transformation from being an impoverished society to a modern state with a high standard of living. Information technology was the driving force behind this transformation.
Today, the UAE is leading the initiative of adopting, developing, and implementing new technologies in the region.People and Organizations Online (Stage 4)
The UAE was one of the first Arab nations to allow both men and women to attend cybercafés. This has helped tremendously in introducing the Internet to the mass majority of the population. The number of Internet users reached 34.7% of the total population in 2005. Many of those were woman accessing the Internet from colleges and universities. The list on locally registered domain names is extensive. In fact, the UAE has been assigned its own root domain of .ae by ICANN.
Most local news agencies, universities, and government agencies are online. They provide up to date information to the online community. The Government does censor the Internet; however the focus of censorship is to block pornographic content. Users are allowed access to other Internet content.The estimated usage breakdown of Internet usage is as follows:
As you can see 40% of the Internet usage is by the general population. Most of this access is of local content on websites, blogs and newsgroups. Arab language search engines such as Arab Vista allow users to search the Internet in their native language.
The Internet is widely used by all members of society in the UAE. It is use by individual users, schools, businesses and government. The Internet provides news, email, instant messaging services to the UAE population. There is also a strong cellular network in place to provide cell phone service to all urban areas. The UAE is the leading provider of cellular phone service in the Arabian Gulf.
Online shopping and banking are also highly used by consumers. In fact, over 25% of banks offer online banking and online payment.For those who do not have their own computer at home with Internet access, cybercafés provide all the resources for them to join the online community.ITCs in the Workplace (Stage 4)
The UAE has a very strong and attractive business presence in the Arabian Gulf. It has become the ideal location for corporate expansion into the Middle East. The combination of a very talented IT labor supply, a strong telecommunications infrastructure, and government polices designed to encourage foreign investment have attracted investors and corporations from around the world.
The UAE is also trying to establish itself as a major player in the International market. In order to accomplish this, it has established many mechanisms in order to attract e-commerce. Not only has the government invested heavily on a national telecommunications infrastructure, but it has also invested in computer education programs to increase the overall skill set of the workforce.
Companies and their use of technology (survey year: 2000)