Minister of Finance Mr. Bader Al-Humaidhi and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer signed a broad Strategic Partnership Agreement today to expand the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and to strengthen Kuwait's knowledge-driven economy. Also present at the signing ceremony was Mr. Ali Al-Shuraidah, head of the Kuwait Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) as well as Ali Faramawy, Vice President - Microsoft EMEA and Charbel Fakhoury, General Manager - Microsoft Gulf.
Under the strategic agreement, Microsoft will support the State of Kuwait's aim to become one of the most successful knowledge-based societies in the world. Through this partnership, Microsoft will provide counsel, resources and direct assistance through several complementary programmes. Combined, they will accelerate the realisation of the country's ICT strategy, thus empowering citizens and enhancing government efficiencies.
"This initiative is an essential investment in Kuwait's future," Mr. Bader Al-Humaidhi said. "Putting technology to work for people throughout the country will enable us to strengthen our economy and create greater opportunity for young people to fulfil their dreams. We value Microsoft's support as we take positive steps towards becoming a truly digital society."
Today's news reflects Microsoft's long-term commitment to collaborating with governments, academic institutions and private companies throughout the Middle East to spur economic development and help countries such as Kuwait compete in the global marketplace.
"To compete successfully in the global marketplace, countries must invest in building a workforce that has the right technical skills and knowledge," Ballmer said. "We welcome the opportunity to work with governments like Kuwait that are using information technology to foster a knowledge-based economy - providing new jobs and new opportunities for its citizens."
The strategic agreement outlines cooperation between Microsoft and the Kuwait Government in the areas of National Capacity, Education and Technology. In this respect, Microsoft will assist the Government in achieving the country's e-government vision starting by promoting information and communications technology across the nation.
A core element of the Agreement is its commitment to accelerating the evolution of a knowledge-based society. In this context, Microsoft and CAIT will work together to enable citizens to improve their quality of life through ICT and contribute to social and economic development. Under the strategic agreement, the government and Microsoft will also work in partnership to develop Connected Industry Frameworks. These frameworks have been developed by Microsoft to assist in the development of IT based services and interoperability across many industries and will help the government to foster competitive IT capacity across the country. A predictable and interoperable framework will also help the government achieve economy-wide efficiencies and world-class levels of service provision, while this will translate to citizens in consistent and more efficient e-services hence an improved experience dealing with government departments.
Microsoft will also meet with the Government of Kuwait on a regular basis to provide suggestions and addvice on Kuwait's transformation to a digital society and evaluate current achievements.
The Government of Kuwait and Microsoft will also partner to empower youth across the country through IT skills development that enable them to play an active role in driving socio-economic development and accelerate the growth of the knowledge economy. This will be developed through two programs. The first one will aim to create new employment opportunity for Kuwaiti Youth by providing an incentive plan for young local Kuwaitis to set up their own small businesses focusing on the IT service industry. The second program will be a capacity building program which includes management and business skills, communication and soft skills as well as basic IT skills training.