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  Home : ITU-D : BDT Director's Corner : Speeches : Closing speech, Connect Arab Summit



Brahima Sanou, BDT Director

Closing speech, Connect Arab Summit


Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
• It is with much pleasure that I address you once again at the sunset of the Connect Arab Summit 2012.
• This has been an extraordinary summit, bringing together a record number of participants, including seven Heads of State or Heads of Government from the Arab world; 24 government ministers; and over 500 leaders, delegates and participants representing the public and private sectors as well as international and regional organizations, along with civil society.
• This summit has brought together so many like-minded people, in a warm, positive spirit of friendship and commitment thank to our host country who did not spare any effort to make us feel at home. While I know that the Secreatriat General will do it on our behalf I cannot continue without saying Thank you Qatar.
• I would like to say a few words about the rountables we have held here in Doha over the past two days.
• A call was made to introduce ICT education at every level – from kindergarten and primary school right through to secondary and tertiary levels.
• It was clearly recognized that investing in ICTs – and broadband in particular – was key to social and economic development.
• Sound and effective regulatory frameworks were shown to be key to encouraging potential investors and investments in the region – and further regulatory harmonization will facilitate regional integration and the creation of common markets allowing for economies of scale.
• It was clear during discussions that there was general agreement on the need for cooperation in the face of such threats, and that this is a global issue which must be addressed with global solutions.
• Proposals were brought to the table to enhance regional cooperation and develop regional cybersecurity plans – and I would encourage all stakeholders to pursue this good work with all speed for the sake of our people – and especially our children.
• Rountables reaffirmed that Digital content was absolutely crucial for the region, and will provide the basis for the future development of the Arabic language. Further work to develop content and incubators for content creation will be a necessary step to ensure the spread of Arabic content.
• In this regard, ITU is working with the League of Arab States on the registration of Dot Arab in the Arabic and English languages. This will assist in access to digital content by the people of the region.
• Innovation is clearly a powerful engine for addressing economic and social challenges – particularly when combined with the talents of a young, digitally-literate, population. The digital-native youth is a big asset in this regard and it was very interesting to see a number of policy initiatives in this region which have contributed to building national innovation capabilities.

Ladies and gentlemen,
• This demonstrates the true power of partnership – and I would like to very briefly recap on some of the ITU agreements fostered here at the Connect Arab Summit.
• These include:
? The project I mentioned earlier with the League of Arab States to establish the Dot Arab domain name. The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will host this important service;
? An Arab Women’s Literacy project with ALESCO and the UAE to empower women in the region with Arabic-language ICT skills;
? Over 20 projects highlighted by Egypt, including three announcements with ITU to: help expand access to Arab digital content through the ‘Memory of the Arab World’ project; strengthen Arab indicators to inform policy-making in the region; and to leverage the power of ICTs to help persons with disabilities;
? And a project on open source software training and certification with the Linux Professional Institute.
• In addition, partners announced various other initiatives during the event, including:
? A broadband toolkit and various other projects, from the World Bank;
? Telecentre projects, in collaboration with India, from Sudan, along with a number of other projects;
? Three projects, including a regional cybersecurity initiative, from the Arab ICT Organization;
? Mauritania is leveraging greater connectivity to support a smart city project, including a technology incubator for new ICT businesses;
? Five projects, including three infrastructure projects to address fibre backbone shortcomings, from Djibouti.
Distinguished guests,
• Let me again reaffirm ITU’s commitment to connecting the unconnected in all regions of the world, and particularly to this region, which offers so much extraordinary human and business potential.
• As the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, BDT, I am personally committed to this, and let me assure you that I myself, and the Bureau, will do everything in our power to help achieve these noble goals.
• We should look back with a sense of pride, achievement and accomplishment. At this Summit, we laid the foundation for the Arab Information Society here in Doha. Construction work has to progress at a fast rate. And I know: Together, we will make it!
• Finally, allow let me give my own special thanks to all those who have participated in these rountables, to the panellists and the moderators including my fellow elected officials, the ITU staff and the High Authorities and the staff of Qatar.
• Let me extend my gratitude the honourable ministers of Jordan, Azerbaijan and Somalia; Dr Hessa Al-Jaber, Secretary-General of ictQATAR; and of course ITU’s Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour้

Thank you.
Shoukran Djezilan

Doha, Qatar 3/7/2012



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