On June 28, 2010 Skype announced on its blog the opening of the company’s first headquarters in the Middle East and Africa which will be located in Manama, Bahrain’s capital. Rouzbeh Pasha, Business Development Manager for the Middle East region, will lead the company’s operations in the region. The announcement was published in a joint press conference for Skype and Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
Skype’s CEO said that “Bahrain provides one of the most energetic environments to support and encourage innovation – with a talented local workforce and forward-thinking economic development strategies that help support business and broaden regional presence”. He added that “The Middle East and Africa has a young, tech savvy population and we believe that Bahrain will play a central role in making Skype even more popular in the region.”
The announcement was part of Bahrain’s vision of national economic strategy called ‘Vision 2030’ which includes telecommunications and information systems.
Indeed, Bahrain is a regional leader with regard to Information Technology in general and the Internet in particular. Internet penetration rate in the UAE reaches the level of 88%, higher than Israel’s penetration rate, which is about 72%. In addition, Bahrain has been located at the top of the Middle Eastern countries by the 2010 UN report on the level of e-government readiness.