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KUWAIT - Telecoms & IT

Alaeddine Karim

Country Manager, Microsoft KUWAIT

Bio

Before taking on his current role, Alaeddine Karim headed Microsoft Gulf Retail and Travel industry out of Dubai and helped grow Microsoft’s footprint in one of the fastest-transforming industries. Earlier in his career, he spent several years as an international business director for Sakhr Software and as a marketing support manager and systems engineer at the Diawn Al-Amiri Project in Kuwait. He earned a computer and communication engineering degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

"The Kuwaiti government’s forward-looking leadership approach has helped lay the foundation for the country to become an advanced society that is sustainable with a focus on key areas such as economic, social, human, and environmental development."
With digital transformation and advanced technology adoption becoming a top priority for the Kuwaiti government, Microsoft is keen to cooperate as a key technology partner in the country.
Considering the increasing digitalization initiatives in the country, what is your perspective on Kuwait’s digital transformation progress?

The Kuwaiti government’s forward-looking leadership approach has helped lay the foundation for the country to become an advanced society that is sustainable with a focus on key areas such as economic, social, human, and environmental development. Microsoft shares this vision, and we are committed to working closely with the Kuwaiti government to realize it. We have seen a considerable acceleration toward the use of technology and the drive for digital transformation across the country, especially in the past two years, and there is a clear roadmap for consolidating all government services through the new application, Sahel. It is proof that the leadership understands the importance of digital transformation and working toward achieving a future that leverages technology and the power of the cloud. Digital transformation is a journey, and as a company, Microsoft keeps learning by engaging with our customers to understand their business and technological needs, which also applies to the government. We are encouraged by the progress Kuwait has made.

How is Microsoft supporting SMEs and local start-ups to increase their success rate in the Kuwaiti market?

SMEs and start-ups are the backbones of a digitally-driven market and economy. It is crucial for Kuwait to create and encourage platforms for these enterprises to thrive. Microsoft has implemented several programs to support start-ups—either providing the necessary technology and expertise or helping them realize their business and development potential in the country, regionally, and globally. Those programs encourage SMEs and star-up to grow and achieve more by empowering them with advanced technologies like AI and IoT that are secure and powered by the most trusted and sustainable cloud and provide support and facilities for any Kuwaiti who wants to start their business. We stimulate SMEs and start-ups to be change agents who make doing more with less possible—less time, less cost, less complexity, with more innovation, more agility and more resilience. To further ensure people are ready to use and support this technology, we are partnering with Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) and other agencies to supercharge the skillsets of the country’s software architects and developers to solve common industry challenges and become tech specialists. Several retail-based companies are forming and establishing themselves in the market. However, we can go beyond retail and channel more innovative ideas to provide a new concept or service and take that to a global level. Microsoft strives to drive innovation in Kuwait and contribute to developing a competitive and diversified digital economy. We are here to support those companies with technology and business.

What has been the reception to the Smart Government Summit organized by Microsoft?

The Kuwait Smart Government Summit was an excellent opportunity to share some suggestions and showcase success stories in Kuwait over the past two to three years. The summit showed how technology plays a pivotal role in enabling governments, organizations, and industries to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and navigate an uncharted landscape. For example, Kuwait managed to continue delivering education via Microsoft platforms like Microsoft Teams, serving almost 600,000 students over the past two years. Besides that, the Shlonik app, adopted by the government to tackle COVID-19 and to analyze data, is an example of a forward-thinking application of technology. Those success stories have helped the country limit the damage of the pandemic. The summit also saw Microsoft and the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) expand our partnership to accelerate digital transformation with the launch of the MASAR initiative. Microsoft has been in Kuwait for over 24 years, partnering with the government to drive digital transformation, implement skilling initiative to leverage advanced technology and encourage innovation. We know the market and the challenges. This gives us a better chance to efficiently support the government in its transition and approach to the challenges.

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