ITU’s Connect Arab Summit puts broadband at the very top of the
region’s political agenda
Delegates to focus on region-wide ‘digital inclusion’
Geneva, 25 January 2012 – Over the past 12 months, the Arab
Spring has brought about unprecedented political changes across the region. The
right to communicate is increasingly recognized and asserted, and now needs to
be complemented by opportunities to be educated and employed, and to contribute
to the development of the economy and wealth of the region.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are the drivers that will
make these opportunities a reality. ITU’s Connect Arab Summit, set to take place
in Doha, Qatar from 5-7 March, will bring together top government leaders and
ICT experts from the region and beyond to develop strategies to drive broadband
deployment and mobilize the human, financial and technical resources needed to
bridge the digital divide in countries right across the Arab world.
One of the world’s most dynamic markets for ICT services, the Arab world is
also a region of stark contrasts. While countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman and
Kuwait have some of the world’s highest mobile cellular penetrations, other
nations are languishing below world averages.
At the same time, fixed broadband penetration averages only 2.2% in the Arab
States overall, compared with 6.2% in the Asia & Pacific region, 15.5% in the
Americas and 25.8% in Europe.
“The Arab world has moved to the forefront when it comes to ICT-based
development policies, yet there is still much work to do to ensure all people
across the region have the kinds of access they need to keep that engine of
growth well-fuelled. The Connect Arab Summit provides the top-level platform
needed to debate and define the far-sighted policies that will further
accelerate growth,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré Secretary-General, ITU.
Through the involvement of Heads of State, Heads of Government, ICT Ministers
and top business leaders, the Summit aims to concretely tackle the connectivity
challenges that are holding some countries back from realizing the full benefits
of ICT. It offers a unique venue for leaders from the public and private sectors
and international and regional financing and development agencies to network
face-to-face and forge new initiatives and partnerships.
Hosted by the State of Qatar under the patronage of Emir of Qatar, H.H.
Khalifa Al Thani, the Summit will feature a series of high-level discussion
panels and roundtables around four main conference themes: Cybersecurity
(Building Trust and Security in the Use of ICT); Access and Infrastructure
(Broadband Access Networks, Digital broadcasting and Open-source
Software); Digital Content (Multilingualism); and ICT
The three-day programme is expected to serve as the platform for the
announcement of a number of important ‘connectivity commitments’ from
government, industry and the academic community. It will also bring together
partners and donors looking to participate in the implementation of new
Arab-focused ICT projects that will help further accelerate deployment of
networks, applications and services.
“The Connect Arab Summit is an important opportunity for Arab States to
collectively work towards improving ICT development in our region and Qatar is
pleased to be hosting this important event. The Arab world must leverage ICT to
promote business opportunities, entrepreneurship and innovation and empower
various social groups,” said Dr Hessa Al-Jaber, Secretary General of Qatar’s
Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR).
Journalists and industry analysts wishing to attend ITU Connect Arab Summit
must be formally accredited.
To apply for accreditation, or for more information, visit
Accreditation formally closes at 17:00 CET, 28 February. There will
be no accreditation onsite, and strictly no admittance to the venue without an
Journalists and analysts who have accredited for ITU Telecom, RA-2012 or
WRC-2012 do not need to resubmit accreditation credentials, but still need to
video message from ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré:
For more information on the event, please contact:
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
For media accreditation enquiries, please contact:
Soraya Abino Quintana
The Supreme Council of Information and
Communication Technology (ictQATAR) connects people to the technologies that
enrich their lives, drive economic development and inspire confidence in the
future. ictQATAR is entrusted with two primary authorities: as the country’s
independent and fair regulator of the telecommunications market, and as the
government body that nurtures innovative technologies to benefit those who live
and work in Qatar.