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Gulf forum to push for key e-transaction laws

Manama, March 10, 2008

The Gulf region accounts for only two per cent of the world's e-commerce market because of the absence of laws or the lack of implementation of the existing ones, it was revealed.

Experts say the absence of regulatory framework and low awareness on proper use of information technology in the business sector is another major factor that has hit e-commerc in the region.

Addressing a Press conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel to announce the second Gulf e-Commerce Forum (GeF) to be held in Kuwait on April 28, organisers The Gulf Knowledge Economy chairman Dr Jamal Al Duaij said the forum is a key step towards looking at legislation on e-transactions.

It is also aimed at formulating new laws that would contribute to the development of e-commerce projects.

'The goal of holding such an event is to develop legislation related to e-transactions in the GCC, especially now that we live in an era of globalisation,' he said.

'This, we hope, will contribute towards making more and more people take to e-commerce and transact their business through the Internet.'

According to Al Duaij, the volume of e-commerce has been on the rise in recent years. 'Many companies are using this option, but e-commerce in Arab states is still limited due to weakness in planning at the local and regional levels.'

He said the event, a follow-up on the First Gulf GeF held in Bahrain in November, would focus on three topics: legislation and easing e-procedures; legislation and boosting confidence in e-transactions and legislation and protecting consumers and the privacy of individuals.

He said the GeF is an international forum for businesses and researchers to exchange information regarding advancements in e-commerce and web-based information systems.

The forum will also focus on the emerging research topics and define the future of e-commerce technology, applications and service computing.

He said Bahrain had already taken steps to position itself as the centre of choice for e-commerce in the Middle East because it is nurturing successful partnerships and fostering infrastructure development to serve the citizens and business community.

'Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro is a pillar of support and the government of Bahrain is also doing its best to help set up systems that will encourage such businesses.'

The Gulf Knowledge Economy vice-chairman Dr Hussain Al Mahdi said this is the start of e-commerce in the Gulf region and they have a strong plan and strategy for the introduction of e-commerce.

'The forum will help us discuss the path to a good e-commerce sector in the Gulf through learning from global experience.'

He said the forum will discuss the major challenges for the GCC in terms of e-commerce, which include lack of efficient credit policy and management, inadequate telecommunications infrastructure, lack of credit information and lack of legal framework.

He said Bahrain has paid special attention to international e-Commerce approaches and that has made it one of the pioneers in the region to develop various commercial methods based on latest international techniques particularly in finance.

He said the current trade boom in the region is due to the stability it enjoys making it an ideal location for attracting regional and foreign capitals.

'What helps in strengthening investor trust in the local economies is the easy access to technological tools, highly-qualified expertise and the advanced methodologies adopted in commerce.'

He said all that in a whole assists in carrying out dealings in ease, speed and effectiveness, which are considered fundamental constituents of success especially in the banking sector.

The Kuwait event is sponsored by the telecommunications giant Zain, whose marketing director Mohamed Al Hashili was also present at the press conference.-TradeArabia Ne




Tags: Gulf | Kuwait | law | market | E-commerce | lack |

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