Kocharian Tells Intl. Summit IT Vital to Armenia and Entire Region

GENEVA (Armenpress)–Speaking at the World Summit on Information Society–Armenian President Robert Kocharian noted that Armenia was considered the "Silicon Valley" of the Soviet Union–where the first computer was created and assembled in Armenia in 1960. He stressed that in order to develop the private sector–Armenia’s objective is to become a provider of intellectual services.

He spoke of the importance in establishing common rules of the game in the field of IT–and explained that Armenia knows well that adherence also advances the countries economy. "Today–the software and IT industries make up 1.7% of Armenia’s GDP–placing Armenia among countries with that have a high level IT growth."

He revealed that Armenia’s IT Council–composed of various ministries–private companies–academics–and NGOs has already drawn up an IT sector development plan–that will soon develop into a comprehensive strategy. He spoke of Armenia’s e-visa program–and e-consular services that have become especially useful because of the country’s many migrant workers–and its large Armenian Diaspora. "Ahead of the initiatives of this Summit we have initiated Diaspora networks. The "Silicon Armenia" portal allows the Diaspora’s active involvement in advancing technology in Armenia," said the President

Touching on another important feature of the Summit–Kocharian spoke of the constraints resulting from a still-lingering soviet mentality–"In our part of the world–soviet thinking continues to hamper the smooth transition to an engaged society. Technology helps us change old assumptions. It forces the service users and providers in public and private sectors to simplify procedures. As a result–we get closer to a society of equals."

Explaining that political relations among neighbors are less than ideal in the South Caucasus–Kocharian said that IT will hopefully–eventually create a virtual community of nations–enabling professionals and students alike to communicate and cooperate–forcing governmen’s to follow suit to truly appreciate the potential of the information society–"Cooperation and development across borders without physical obstacles," he stressed.

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