EghtesadOnline: Iranian ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, heading a delegation of 20 startups, has traveled to Yerevan to participate in the World Congress on Information Technology 2019 and DigiTec Expo.
The minister also sat down for a talk with Hakob Arshakyan, Armenian minister of high-tech industry, on Tuesday. He was also set to meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, ICT Ministry’s website reported.
The Iranian delegation’s agenda aims to expand economic ties and provide Iranian startups with an opportunity to claim a share of the neighboring countries' market.
Addressing the conference on Tuesday, Jahromi highlighted ICT collaborations between Iran and Armenia, Financial Tribune reported.
“Joint projects for upgrading communication infrastructure are on track, which will hopefully enhance connectivity in both countries. Such cooperation will lead to increased integrity in the region and help nations stand united against some countries’ unilateralism and hegemony,” he said.
In his speeches, Jahromi often censured US President Donald Trump for his hegemonistic approach toward other nations. He has often called on his regional counterparts to forge closer ties to help nations counter the hawkish approach of the US administration.
Jahromi has been accompanied by CEOs of 20 Iranian startups active in the fields of transportation, agriculture, communications and healthcare. These startups have set up booths at the DigiTec Expo underway in Yerevan.
During his talk with the Armenian minister, Jahromi said the two countries should devise solutions to ease tech collaborations.
He noted that the establishment of a joint tech park in Armenia can provide Iranian startups with a chance to claim a share of the country’s services market.
Jahromi also pointed to an earlier agreement signed among Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey on the sidelines of Bakutel 2018, based on which the four countries agreed to establish startup centers with a joint investment of $2 million to expand technological collaboration.
As per the agreement, centers will be set up to facilitate scientific and technological collaboration. Each country will invest $500,000 in the project that will link experts and talented youth.
The project will also help expand technological collaboration in the region.
Pointing to the need for supporting startups and knowledge-based firms, Jahromi called for the creation of a “regional startup center”.
“Startups and digital businesses are gradually claiming a bigger share of the global economy. Governments need to see the change engineered by startups and support such firms,” he said.
“The number of startups has grown significantly in Iran,” the minister added, stressing that the firms have not been able to claim a fair share of the global market.
“Creating joint startup centers can and will certainly help such firms expand their operations,” he said.
Jahromi also pointed to the headways Iran has made in the field of communication services.
He said, “Currently all Iranian cities and 78% of the villages have access to 4G internet.”
He also spoke about plans rolled out by the Iranian government for supporting startups. One of the latest measures implemented by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for supporting startups has been Iran’s “Startup Action Plan”. It was unveiled in mid-July and envisions incentives for boosting local startups and innovative firms.
According to Jahromi, 570 startups, 139 growth centers, 45 accelerators and 15 investors have made use of the services offered through the scheme.
More About WCIT
World Congress on Information Technology is the signature event of the World Information Technology & Services Alliance, a consortium of ICT associations from 83 countries.
According to the event’s website, this year’s edition is titled “The Power of Decentralization: Promise and Peril” and aims to explore how ICT is transforming life for the better—its impact on profits and prosperity, safety and security, democracy and humanity.
The congress started on Oct. 6 in Yerevan, Armenia, and continues until Wednesday. Some 2,000 delegates from 70 countries are participating in the event.
Key topics discussed at the event include artificial intelligence, e-health, climate change, internet of things, e-commerce, smart cities, national digital agendas, impact of ICT on education, startups and incubators, digital inclusion and equality, fintech, decentralization, cybersecurity and women in technology.