Translated by: Adnan Al-Bureihy
SANA'A, May 18 (Saba)- Telecommunication and information technology sector of Yemen has witnessed, since the announcement of the Yemeni unification on May 22, 1990, accelerating steps qualifying it to keep pace with the interanational development in this domain.
This sector in Yemen was internationally classified as one of the best sectors at the level of the Arab region which has moved through technology, information technology and telecommunication developments.
Undoubtedly, the remarkable successes which have been achieved in this vital sector, as one of basic development poles, have not come on the ground by an effortless chance but as a result of continuous efforts exerted by the Yemeni government to improve and advance it in order to serve the comprehensive development in the country.
As a practical move in this sector, the government approved many plans and programs in as well as big projects to improve it in order to contribute to creating characteristic leap in terms of quality and quantity in a way to fit changes witnessed in Yemen since May 22.
With respect to expansions in telephone services under the government of unity, statistics indicate rise in telephone density from (0.8 phone lines) per a hundred citizens in 1990 up to (4.36 phone lines) for a hundred citizens in 2009, while capacities of phone centers raised from 147,900 lines in 1990 to 1,336,824 in 2009.
Works are currently underway to install and expand a number of optical fibers cabins in a number of areas as well as some other systems which include the Fixed Wireless Telephone systems (FWT) which are operated by CDMA-WILL to meet requirements of this service in the rural areas, in addition to updating the old systems with the latest systems.
Telecommunication development also included Internet which first was introduced in Yemen in 1996 as the number of contributors reached 445,429 up to 2009 compared with 473 in 1996. In effect, Internet cafés also witness an increase from 50 in 2000 up to 989 in 2009.
In as far as information technology is concerned, the government has adopted a national program to execute the governmental works and procedures organizing the government relation with its departments or individuals and institutions electronically as well as through information networks the unified and database in a way to contribute to offering the government e-services for the citizens and facilitating the procedures.
This program is aimed at boosting performance of the government systems and improve its treatment with the beneficiaries, in addition to shortening time and costs of procedures and administrative operations and helping in the implementation of projects and plans of the economic, social and cultural development. It is also handy to establish the necessary infrastructure to stimulate the business sector to invest in information technology projects and encourage individuals and institutions to use and benefit from them.
Out of concern of the government to help the locals benefit from the National Program for Information Technology, it has created a general website which includes links to all its ministries and authorities and institutions with the aim of providing services for locals in an easy way, in addition to implementing awareness, training and media programs as well as field visits to rural areas in order to raise awareness with technology and spread the digital culture in the society.
The government has given a special interest in programs and plans to improve telecommunication and information technology sectors represented by holding a number of training courses organized by the General Institute for Telecommunication and its branches in the governorate in field of computer and IT, or by training courses which are organized in summer youth camps.
As far as mobile telephone services are concerned, it is not exaggeration if we say that what Yemen has achieved in this field is regarded as a characteristic leap since the introduction of this service in Yemen in 1992.
In reaction to directives of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to make the private sector hold a partnership position in this move to serve development process, the mobile telephone services were made possible for the private sector to invest in as two private companies set up their mobile phone services in 2000 operating the GSM system to be first provided by SabaFon and Spacetel, lately changed to MTN, companies, in addition to Thuraya mobile phone services.
The government also allowed further mobile phone services to break monopoly and introduced YemenMobile company for further competition which is operating by the CDMA system to be the first Arab country operate this kind of mobile phone systems, in addition to a fourth mobile phone company using the MGS system called Y.
It is worth mentioning that the government special attention to telecommunication and information technology sector does not stems out of nothing but it comes within a well-studied development plan targeting the Yemeni people at first, specially as this sector has an important and vital role in the comprehensive development plan.
This vital sector has contributed to supporting efforts to curb unemployment and combating poverty through making available numerous work opportunities.
To translate the goals oriented efforts to benefit from development of information to serve development in Yemen, Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Kamal Husein al-Jabri said that the government of Yemen is always working to upgrade this sector in a accordance with a scientific approach.
The minister affirmed that the use of telecommunication and information technology for the support of development applications in the economic and social areas forms a basic hub in the Strategic Vision Document approved by the Ministry to support the integrated development plans in Yemen as it is considered one of the best means to fill the digital gap separating Yemen from the more growing countries according to the general planned goals included in the vision for the period 2001-2025.
"This strategy aims at placing Yemen within the producing countries for applications of information and telecommunication technology and ensures the acceleration of the comprehensive development process in order to upgrade Yemen to the level of medium development countries," he said.
In a statement to Saba, the Minister said that there is an ongoing plan to reframe the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology in addition to the affiliate bodies in the light of the new telecommunication, following the Parliament's ratification, in a way to perform their expected role as it should be.
Al-Jabri also asserted the Ministry's concern to carry out the control and supervising tasks on the telecom sector so as to ensure commitment of concerned companies to the regulatory standards as well as protecting users of the services provided.
Source: Saba News