The Council of Arab Economic Unity welcomed the Arab digital declaration, which was issued by the Arab Ministerial Council for Ministers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Riyadh on the evening of Wednesday 18 December 2019. The declaration was approved by the Arab ministers at their twenty-third regular meeting, this was stated by Ambassador Mohamed Mohamed Al-Rabei, Secretary-General, the Council of Arab Economic Unity.
Al-Rabie indicated that this declaration converges and corresponds to the hopes of the Arab peoples for a better tomorrow, in which the Arab peoples and states contribute to the course of human civilization and development. Especially since the tremendous progress represented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has become a reality and that cannot be ignored, or remain to be addressed by the same approach and frameworks, that would take us to the fact that current and previous policies must change. He also indicated that change is inevitably coming, and it is appropriate for this great Arab nation to be at the forefront and to contribute strongly to this development. He added that the Arab capabilities and the size of its market and its location at the center of the world qualify it for a great place in the future, provided proper planning and positive cooperation among all Arab parties concerned with digital technology and digital economy.
The Ambassador affirmed his thanks to all the Arab ministers for their great decision and a special thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that hosted this ministerial summit in Riyadh and its role in stimulating and launching this important announcement. He emphasized that the Council of Arab Economic Unity had announced its first initiative a year ago when it launched the Arab Vision for Digital Economy from Abu Dhabi City – with the kind patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces – in the same month last year, the vision which was prepared out of five axes, twenty strategic goals, and fifty programs emerged from it, all focus on developing infrastructure, supporting innovation, digital government transformation, empowering the private sector, and deepening and enhancing services for the Arab citizen. The Arab vision was prepared by the participation of, Harvard University, Cairo University, international organizations and experts from the United Nations, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union.
Al-Rabie reviewed the stages of development that have continued since the launch of the Arab vision for digital economy in Abu Dhabi, after which was announced, at the Beirut Economic Summit, the announcement of the establishment of the Arab Fund for Digital Economy, which aims to finance and promote Arab projects and programs, and those efforts coincided with the efforts pursued by the technical team formed by The Arab Ministerial Council for ICT to develop an Arab strategy for ICT during their 29th meeting, which was held in Cairo in the beginning of this month, December 2019. During the same meeting, the council entrusted the task of developing an Arab strategy for ICT to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which announced the start in the development of this strategy, depending on the Arab vision of digital economy, and the strategic study submitted by the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO).
The Ambassador stressed his thanks to the United Arab Emirates represented by its leaders for providing material and moral support for preparing the Arab vision for digital economy and following up on its launch, as it is of paramount importance in developing sustainable development economies in the Arab region and promoting joint Arab action to develop and develop the digital economy in the Arab world.
Al-Rabie also affirmed that the road has now become clearer after converging the Arab will and effort to achieve one of the most important goals for which the Arab League was founded, namely Arab development and economic unity, stressing that the Arabs are better to unite their efforts and financial and human resources to achieve this important goal.
At the end of his speech, Al-Rabie stressed the importance of uniting the joint Arab efforts that came within the Riyadh Declaration represented by the fifth principle that affirmed that «Our Unity is Our Strength» and that the Arab Economic Unity Council and all the unions and organizations that derive from it, including the Arab Union for Digital Economy, put all their expertise and studies at the service of Arab joint cooperation, along with ESCWA, in order to take into action the Arab digital declaration, and to implement further all those programs and initiatives Arab nations’ wide. All needs the collaboration of all efforts as well as support of the Arab decision makers.