Leaders from Arab nations convene for UN technology summit

6 March 2012

More than 600 government and technology leaders from the Arab region convened today at a United Nations summit in Doha, Qatar, to discuss issues such as cybersecurity, access to broadband and youth employment.

During the Connect Arab Summit, participants will be able to map out policies and strategies to tackle those issues, according to a news release issued by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which organized the three-day event.

The summit will also be a platform for governments to announce commitments regarding information and communications technologies (ICTs) and to establish partnerships that will further accelerate the deployment of networks, applications and services.

Even though the Arab world is one of the world’s most connected regions, there are still many countries where connectivity remains low by global standards. The broadband penetration in the region for example, is just 2.2 per cent, far lower than in the Asia-Pacific region, which stands at 6.2 per cent, and the Americas and Europe, which have 15.5 and 25.8 per cent, respectively.

“The slogan of this summit is ‘Build, Innovate, Empower.’ It is my firm belief that this region will see the enormous synergies of a common language, a shared culture, and a ubiquitous drive for successful entrepreneurship come together to create extraordinary opportunities,” ITU Director-General Hamadoun Touré told delegates at the opening ceremony.

“This is a vibrant region, rich in human and material resources, and this summit represents a unique chance for leaders from government, from industry, and from the regional and international financial community to forge common strategies that assure mutual success.”

ITU also launched today a statistics report on the state of connectivity and adoption of ICTs in the Arab region.

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