The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology is an inter-state, non-political and non-profitable entity. It is an independent, autonomous and self-governing institution. The Network works on learning and deploying Information and Communication Technologies among Muslim Ummah particularly those member countries who opt to be its members.
INIT aims at directing and encouraging research, development and use of ICTs and associated systems in promoting collaboration and cooperation among its member states through building capacity, encouraging dialogue, maintaining databanks, assisting in education and training and automating the governmental and business processes.
The proposal to set up Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology was approved by the 10th General Assembly Meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) held on 16th to 18th February, 2002 at Islamabad, Pakistan. COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Islamabad is the host institution and Government of Pakistan is the host Government for the INIT. The permanent secretariat of the Network is at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.
The initiative of establishing INIT was taken in order to comply with the desires of the Muslim community for utilizing, directing and encouraging the use of Information Technologies and associated systems to promote collaboration and cooperation in building human resources and institutional capacity through encouraging dialogue, maintaining databanks, assisting in training, research and development, dissemination of information, automating the governmental and business processes through the mediation of Information Technology and provide appropriate means there for. The following are major objectives of INIT.
- To form, maintain and promote an association of member states which will engage in the proactive learning and utilization of IT;
- To carry out research, development and use of electronic systems through an association of member states and associated organizations;
- To help develop world class IT infrastructure within its member states;
- To develop an extensive pool of academically and technically skilled IT manpower at all levels to meet the local and export needs;
- To promote extensive use of IT applications in Government, trade, industry, homes, agriculture, education, health and other sectors of economy;
- To promote and encourage both local and foreign investors to ensure the development of IT sector (software, hardware and service industries) in member states and the use of IT products and services;
- To create strong domestic and international markets through promoting linkages and reinforcing networks for IT products and services; and
- To facilitate dissemination of knowledge and technology flow(s) from comparatively advanced Islamic countries to the less advances ones.
Reasons for Establishment
Information Technology has become one of the most important and promising technologies of the present world. It is crucial for the advancement and development of any country. The possibilities created by the Internet revolution, networking and advances in telecommunications have spurred a new era of opportunities and global competition.
The World of Islam constitutes over a billion people with rich traditions of learning and knowledge. Unfortunately, hard reality is that the total share of the Muslim world in high-tech products is far and few and even there is a disproportionate technological capability gap among the Muslim countries themselves. With changing paradigms of economic development where the natural resource endowment is giving way to man-made resources and the comparative advantage means having information ahead of the competitors, the challenge for the Muslim world today is to gear up the potential of Information Technology for the development and progress of the Muslim Ummah.
The unfolding of IT revolution has created a quantum gap between the Islamic world and the developed west. The lack of information and its restricted flow has made the Islamic countries less responsive towards introducing applications for research on the one end and education, business and art on the other end of the spectrum. In order to realize its immense potential, the ‘Information’ needs to be channeled through systems and networks. It is up to the Muslim leadership to put in place institutional mechanisms that can address issues of interconnectivity and realize benefits for the Muslim Ummah. Policy planners must appreciate that the countries, which are reaping the benefits of IT today, started thinking of it decades ago. The leading countries had put in place plans and resources in 80s. There has to be a long-term implementation agenda.