The Information Technology Landscape of

Hellas (Greece)

Table of contents:

Telecommunication Infrastructure
Liberalization and Deregulation
Computing & Internet Diffusion
Electronic Commerce
Hardware Manufacturing
Software Development
IT Labor Market
IT Geographics
IT Financing
Government Policies
Legal Environment
Transborder Data Flows
National IT Strengths and Weaknesses
Impacts on the Non-IT Business
Impacts on the IT Business
Sources and links
About the Authors

Contemporary Map of Greece

    Greece, otherwise known by its local name Hellas, is one of the most ancient countries in the world, its civilisation spanning more than 5 millennia. The birthplace of western civilisation and of numerous scientific, philosophical and cultural advances, Greece was incorporated into the Roman Empire during the two last centuries before Christ. Later becoming a part of the Ottoman Empire, Greece declared its independence January 1/13 1822, becoming a kingdom in 1832. Following more than a century of turmoil in the Balkans, Greece reached its current territorial expanse in 1948 and joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. Democratic elections in 1974 and a referendum created a parliamentary republic (the Third Hellenic Republic, the First being between 1822 and 1832 and the Second between 1924 and 1935) and abolished the monarchy. Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the European Union in 1992). The Third Hellenic Republic has been marked as the longest period of political stability and growth in Greek history for more than 1,000 years.
    The total area of the country is equal to 131,940 sq km (slightly smaller than Alabama); its coastline has a total length of 13,676 km. The climate of Greece is temperate, with generally mild winters, but with hot and dry summers. Mount Olympus, the domicile of the Gods of the ancient Greek Pantheon is the highest mountain of Greece, its peak reaching an altitude of 2,917 m.
    The population of Greece is 10,939,605 (2001 census), growing at a rate of 0.7% p.a. 98% of the Greeks are Orthodox Christians, with Muslims being about 1.3% of the population. In 1991, literacy rate for people above 15 years old was at 95%.
    The government type is of parliamentary republic. Greece is divided into 51 prefectures, while there is also one autonomous region (Agion Oros). The capital of Greece is Athens, a metropolis of 2,000,000, selected as host of the 2004 Olympic Games (and also host of the 1896 Olympic Games).
    Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about half of GDP. Tourism is a key industry, providing a large portion of GDP and foreign exchange earnings. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 4% of GDP. The economy has improved steadily over the last few years, as the government has tightened policy in the run-up to Greece's entry into the EU's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on 1 January 2001. In particular, Greece has cut its budget deficit to below 1% of GDP and tightened monetary policy, with the result that inflation fell from 20% in 1990 to 3.1% in 2000. Major challenges remaining include the reduction of unemployment and further restructuring of the economy, including the privatization of some leading state enterprises. Growth, 3.8% in 2000, increased to 4.1% in 2001, contrary to projections and the global trend, proving the robustness of the country's economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $181.9 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $17,200 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  8.3%, industry:  27.3%, services:  64.4% (1998)

    The currency of Greece is the euro (EUR, symbol €). The traditional currency of Greece, the drachma (GRD), in use since 1832, will cease to be legal tender in February 28, 2001. The exchange rate between the euro and the drachma is 340.750 drachmae per euro.

                                      4 drachmae (Athens Mint, ca. 430 B.C.)        1 euro (Athens Mint, 2002)

    Information Technology is a sector where Greece cannot claim to have been a front runner, at least in the last 1,000 years or so. Infrastructure and knowledge related to IT were totally inadequate a few years ago. The human capital was always present, but lack of an organised IT sector prohibited the employment of such personnel within the country.
    An overview of the statistical data provided herein will prove the fact that Greece lies behind the highly developed countries when it comes to information technology. On the other hand, one cannot miss the fact that a trend of significance has appeared in the last few years: Greece is developing its IT sector at a far faster rate than western Europe, rapidly approaching the most advanced countries. Not only is infrastructure improving, but use of information technology becomes even more widespread, its beneficial impact felt even more every day.

Scientific Discovery of Disputed Origin and Age:
Heracles receiving his first PC from the godess Athena.
Note visor on helmet, connected with optical fibre to the CPU.
From the Stamatios Koutsoukos Collection, Washington, DC.

These pages created by Octavio C. Perez and Stamatios Koutsoukos
for the Impact of National Information Technology Environments on Business class
(Dr. Eran Carmel)
Kogod School of Business, American University
Pages last updated: December 13, 2001