H.E. Dr. Ali Mohamed Al-Khouri, Advisor, Arab Economic Unity Council League of Arab States, launched the twenty fifth Smart Government and Smart Cities Conference, held in Dubai from 20-25 April 2019. He launched it with a keynote addressing the challenges that Arab governments must plan for, and the frameworks to adapt the programs of digital transformation in Arab region, with the social and economic objectives, specifically the ones related to creating job opportunities and enhancing education quality, as well as improving income and standard of living for Arab societies.
Also, Dr. Al-Khouri shared with the audience the main recommendations to support digital transformation in Arab region, those included (1) focusing on achieving the social and economic objectives, (2) developing education system, and (3) encouraging the adoption of emerging technologies in public and private sectors.
He briefed the main challenges that Arab governments must plan for, in six points which are:
First Challenge: The need of governments for agility of systems and organizational structures, to ensure responsiveness towards emerging and future challenges.
Second Challenge: Moving away from traditional government approach, and the need for strong leadership, committed to developing environments supporting innovation.
Third Challenge: Coping with the increasing pace of new and emerging technologies, as they have become confusing for decision makers as well as practitioners. This requires high concentration on and understanding the influence of those technologies on all sectors.
Fourth Challenge: developing education system, as it still of not enough knowledge production, and not compatible with what technology presents nowadays. This development is to prepare graduates with capabilities that enables them to direct technology towards the good of them and their societies.
Fifth Challenge: Reinforcing Arab Cybersecurity, under the increase of internet crime and electronic fraud and identity theft worldwide. This is a matter of security of Arab countries and cannot be ignored.
Sixth Challenge: Counteracting social and political stimuli, as digital revolution contributes to influencing our social and economic ecosystem, it also influences our social security and local social values.
He explained that technology was capable of redefining the identity of individuals, societies, and peoples. He also clarified that fourth industrial revolution promises of new models that our current human imagination cannot realize today.
He also emphasized the need of Arab countries for directing their resources to enhance creativity and innovation, based on utilizing emerging technologies to face future challenges.