Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and in the presence of Saif bin Zayed, the League of Arab States launches the joint Arab vision for the digital economy

Date: 16 - 12 - 2018

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and in the presence of Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the activities of the first Arab Digital Economy Conference kicked off this morning in Abu Dhabi.

During the conference, the League of Arab States, in the presence of His Excellency Ahmed Aboul Gheit, its Secretary-General, launched the joint Arab vision for the digital economy with representatives of Arab countries who attended the inauguration ceremony, during the first working days of the conference.

His Excellency Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, in his speech at the official opening, stressed that the Arab countries are working to strengthen inter-Arab cooperation in all fields, the most important of which is the economy.

Aboul Gheit expressed his thanks and appreciation to the leadership and government of the United Arab Emirates for their kindness and hospitality and for their initiative to hold this important conference and their support for the joint digital economy promotion initiative. He also expressed his special appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for its generous sponsorship of the work of this conference.

Al-Haq said that choosing the topic “The Arab Digital Economy” to be the central issue for the work of this conference, honestly reflects the extent of awareness of the gravity of the challenges facing the Arab region in light of the pivotal role of modern technology in the development of societies and economies in general.

He said that the League of Arab States always seeks to keep pace with the current developments around it in all fields and sectors and adopt best practices to activate and enhance the performance of the joint Arab action system… In this context, it is worth mentioning the partnership between the League of Arab States and the United Nations Economic and Social Committee for Western Asia within the framework of the Map initiative The road to Internet governance regionally and internationally, so that the group of Arab countries is among the first regional groups working on formulating a roadmap for Internet governance at the regional level.

His Excellency pointed out that there is a development in some Arab countries that is not overlooked by the eye … as some Arab countries – including the United Arab Emirates – occupy an advanced position among the countries of the world in terms of internet use in light of the doubling of the rate of cross-border data flows that connect our Arab region with the rest of the Arab world. Over the past decade, the countries of the world have exceeded 150 times… In this field, several Arab countries have made a huge leap in the digital consumption sector in terms of high rates of reliance on smart phones and the use of social media.

He expressed his hope that the results of today’s conference will be the subject of priority and attention from the Arab League and its various organs, and in a way that contributes to giving the official Arab dimension and momentum to this great effort. He thanked once again the UAE for its initiative and support for the benefit and prosperity of the Arab peoples.

The inauguration and launch ceremony were also attended by the Guinean Prime Minister Ibrahima Kasurai Fofana, His Excellency Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, Mokhtar Ould Engai, Minister of Finance and Economy of Mauritania, Bi Arefi Termidi, Minister of Economy and Investment in Djibouti, Omar El Behi, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Tunisia and Abdi Youssef. Soujeh, Minister of Information in charge of Posts, Telecommunications and Paper Dirham, Minister of State for the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and the Digital Economy of Morocco, Sophie Linden, Commissioner of the United Nations, former Minister of Culture and Communications, Tariq Helmy, former Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, Dr. Mohamed Yousef Al-Hashel, Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, and Tariq Amer, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Tamim Ibrahim, Director General of the National Agency for the Digital Economy of the United Republic of the Comoros, representatives of a number of Arab and foreign embassies in the country, and representatives of the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Bank.International Cooperation and Development and the World Economic Forum.

The conference began in the morning with a speech by Dr. Ali Al-Khouri, Advisor to the Council of Arab Economic Unity, President of the Arab Federation for Digital Economy and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Conference, in which he stressed “the importance of the conference in highlighting the angle through which countries must reconsider their dealings with the new frameworks.” For global economies to develop their systems and mechanisms of work, as the traditional methods and tools for development are no longer, and will not even lead to achieving sustainable economies at the same level and speed required.”

He continued: “The Arab region stands today in front of a great opportunity by activating joint Arab action, through which it can create enormous job opportunities, develop skills, attract investments and capital, support its markets, pave the way for self-sufficiency, and contribute to knowledge production. A huge production network is estimated With 450 million people, it is the size of natural resources.”

The conference consists of sessions attended by many representatives of international organizations to discuss the components of the digital economy, the first of which was a session of the common view of the Arab region, in which Vincenzo Acquaro, Head of the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government at the United Nations, His Excellency Eng. Atef Helmy, the former Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and Peter Derry participated. Minister, Digital Policy Adviser, Delegation of the European Union.

While global challenges and the need to work within common agendas were discussed in the second session, which was attended by Stefano Manservese, Director General of International Development at the European Commission, Major General Geert Johannes Hagmann, Deputy Commander of the NATO Rapid Intervention Corps, and Tarek Amer, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt.

Professor David Ives, Director of Digital Management at Harvard University, spoke in a recorded message about the importance of the joint Arab vision of the digital economy.

The conference, on its first day, also addressed the new agenda for the education and work sectors under artificial intelligence, in which Professor Gregory Curtin, member of the Global Advisory Council for the Future of Urban Development and Services, the World Economic Forum, and Morten Meyerhoff from the United Nations University participated.

His Excellency the President of Cairo University delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks for the UAE’s support to activate joint Arab action through the digital economy.

Siem Scott, Chief Information Officer in the Government of Estonia, participated in the fourth session on emerging technologies in the Arab region and how to frame and enhance them in terms of legislation and technological infrastructure. The session was attended by His Excellency the Secretary-General of the Arab Organization for Information Communication Technology, Engineer Mohammed bin Omar.

The work of the first day of the conference ended with a review of the lifestyle in the digital society and smart cities, with the participation of His Excellency Dr. Khaled Al-Salami, Director General of the Electronic Governance Unit and a point of contact for the Open Government Partnership Program for the Presidency of the Government in the Republic of Tunisia, and Mr. Joao Vasconceales, Digital Government Policy Analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It is planned that the recommendations of the first conference on the Arab digital economy will be presented after the end of its second day to Arab leaders during the Arab summit to be held in Tunisia in March 2019.