Aboul Gheit: The accelerating growth of the global digital economy calls for ambitious national plans in the Arab region

Date: 23 - 05 - 2023


In his speech at the opening ceremony, His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, affirmed that this annual conference and exhibition … which is the most important and largest forum in the Arab region to discuss the reality of the digital economy and its prospects. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.


He also extended his thanks and appreciation to Lieutenant General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, for his sponsorship of the work of this important conference and his constant guidance to enrich its axes in line with developments in the digital field.


He said that Arab national security, in its comprehensive concept, is closely linked to development efforts. There is no security without development, and our countries have realized the importance of this issue in preserving the Arab structure and achieving integration among its components… as it has taken concrete steps over the past decades in its development path despite the obstacles it faced and the serious crises which afflicted some of its countries, and development, in turn, during the same era witnessed a radical development in its concept and pillars … as it moved from the traditional production pattern to more sustainable models … and the role of technology was significantly enhanced to become a cornerstone of economic development and an important resource of its resources.

He pointed out that the acceleration of the growth of the digital economy was remarkable during the last two decades, as the Internet and digital technology contributed to the prosperity of services and innovation and the spread of electronic commerce on a large scale … ​​These technological developments also contributed to strengthening international efforts to find solutions to environmental problems that we face due to climate change, such as Inventions of clean energy generation and the use of digitization to reduce production, transmission and distribution costs, and the emergence of waste recycling activities and their utilization.

He added that the interdependence between issues of the digital economy and technology and efforts to confront climate change is inevitable and indisputable… You have all followed in this regard the discussions and sessions devoted to the topic of transitioning to a sustainable green economy through the use of technology and the encouragement of digital economy companies during the COP27 climate summit held in the city of Sharm. Sheikh last year, which will undoubtedly continue in the next summit that Dubai will host at the end of this year.

The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States stated that the contribution of the digital economy to the Arab economies is weak despite the good efforts made by the Arab countries, as it does not exceed 6 percent at best, and the recorded numbers vary between the Arab countries, which reflects the persistence of the digital divide between the countries of the region, referring to The situation of the digital economy in our countries is not commensurate with the size of the capabilities and opportunities that are available to it.. The Arab world has important ingredients that will enhance the share of the digital economy in the gross product, including the youth component, the size of the Arab consumption market, and the continued growth of the telecommunications and Internet sector, and on this topic for example His Excellency stated that 198 million Arab citizens still do not benefit from Internet services on a permanent basis, which reflects the size of the opportunities offered by the process of their future integration into this virtual market.

He added that, in connection with this issue, the World Bank report issued last year indicates that the complete digitization of the Arab economy can raise per capita GDP by no less than 46% over the next 30 years, equivalent to $1.6 trillion, and adds that this The increase will be more noticeable in the lower-income countries in the region, stressing that the development of the Arab digital economy requires providing an appropriate and supportive environment for digital companies, especially small and medium ones, and establishing the appropriate infrastructure for establishing business incubators, training young people on small entrepreneurship, and motivating them to establish digital companies and establish electronic platforms. dealing with trade and services.I always emphasize the importance of supporting these projects because of their importance in reducing unemployment and encouraging innovation. Looking at the Arab digital economy market will clearly notice that telecommunications companies and financial and banking services institutions control the bulk of it, while small and medium-sized companies represent only a small percentage.

His Excellency then referred to some of the achievements and gains made during the last year, including the adoption of the “Arab Vision for the Digital Economy” initiative presented by the UAE to the Arab Summit in Algeria, and the adoption of the Arab strategy for communications known as the “Arab Digital Agenda” during the work of the Arab Summit held last week in The city of Jeddah and the launch of the Arab digital platform for sustainable development, in addition to the efforts made by Arab organizations and federations, including the Arab Federation for Digital Economy, which signed a memorandum of understanding in Abu Dhabi to establish the Arab food hub in cooperation with a number of Arab League organizations, government agencies and Emirati companies.

He stressed the importance of the federation updating the Arab vision of the digital economy to keep pace with the changes that occurred in the technological, international and Arab arenas, and to maintain its flexibility and suitability with the current conditions. To be an integral component within the Arab business environment that is eager for such valuable additions. Once again, he thanked the UAE leadership and people for their hospitality and hospitality. Wishing success for this global event.