Najat started her professional career as a professor at the School of Information Sciences in Rabat. She enjoyed teaching not only to transmit knowledge but also to educate her students and help them in getting a new attitude and mindset as citizens. Nevertheless, Najat considers that the most enriching experience for her was her involvement in the development arena. She worked as an international expert for the United Nations for more than ten years (1990 to 2000) in the African countries mainly and some Asian countries (Malaysia) and American (Mexico). Since then, the fight against poverty as to lead to a more equitable and sustainable development was her leitmotiv. She was involved in several Francophone and Anglophone African countries either as a Policy Adviser or for direct technical assistance regarding the use of ICT to accelerate the economic and social development through the support of SMEs, youth empowerment, woman integration and the development of national human capital. As such, she was adviser to several heads of States and heads of African government.
In September 1999, Najat's career shifted towards more political involvement where she occupied
several high-level positions in her country from 1999 to 2001. She joined the Cabinet of Mr Ajjoul, Former Minister in charge of Telecom and IT in Morocco in September 1999. Under her new capacity as Adviser to the Minister, in the office of the Prime Minister, she was involved in the formulation of various strategies and projects for the development of the knowledge society in Morocco. She was then appointed as a Director in the same Ministry from September 2000 to September 2001. In this capacity, she was involved in the Telecom liberalization strategy, ICT for development policy for economic and social development, development of e-commerce, strategies for advocacy and awareness raising of decision-makers on the strategic role of ICT in development. 1999-2001. She was also the national Focal Point for the European Mediterranean program for the Information Society in the Region (tele-medicine, distance learning, e-commerce, information technology for industry, culture and patrimony preservation, e-tourism) and a member of the Technical Commission for "Telecommunication liberalization strategy and Information Technology Development Policy" in Morocco.
In September 2001, she joined the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the ICT for Development
Policy Adviser for Arab States, SURF AS, Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Program, covering 20 Arab countries and working with Government and civil societies to address policy issues about ICT for development (infrastructure development, Telecom regulation, human capital, private sector, reforms, incentives, content development, etc.). Her main mandate was to assist governments of Arab States to formulate an ICT national policy and action plan, to help build capacities and raise awareness. As such, she was dealing most of the time with heads of States or heads of Governments as well as with the sartorial Ministers. She was dealing, addressing and formulating strategies for the following issues:
- Use ICT as an enabler to achieve selected development goals and the integration of the ICT strategy into national development strategies
- Address the main components that are important for an ICT strategy: human capacity, enabling environment for enterprise, infrastructure, telecommunication liberalization, content and applications
- Apply ICT in the five key areas identified by the UN Millennium Summit as development imperatives: health, education, economic opportunity, empowerment and participation, and environment
- ICT as an enabler of socio-economic development
- ICT as a production sector.
She came back to Morocco in July 2002 as the first woman to be appointed as a Secretary-General in the Ministry in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). During her mandate, her primary achievement was to establish a dynamic and a dialogue among all stakeholders as well as to negotiate support and training programs for SMEs.
In November 2003, Najat left the Ministry back to UNDP as a Senior Manager in UNDP and is currently the
Regional Director of Information and Communication Technology for Development in Arab Region (ICTDAR), based in Cairo. Since then, Najat initiated and implemented several regional initiatives in more then 16 countries of the Arab Region (including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen). She also engaged and lead awareness raising and stakeholders campaigns, capacity development workshops, strategy implementation, pro-poor growth and employment generation.
The projects she implemented in the Arab countries addressed:
- Establishment of the first Regional e-Governance Institute (REGI) in the Arab Region, in Amman,
- Policy and strategy formulation to address poverty alleviation and MDGs,
- Capacity building,
- ICT to support SMEs with a special focus on rural area and local production (cooperatives),
- Women empowerment through access to knowledge,
- Youth empowerment through skills development and job creation,
- E-government policies and programs,
- Community access centres to address access issue,
- Partnership with private sector,
- South/south exchange and collaboration.
Najat succeeded in mobilizing five times the initial Program budget through resource mobilization and especially through partnership with the private sector. She has records in dealing with several multinationals as well as regional companies.
Najat is a member of the high-level panel of ICT experts set up by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to advice on ICT policy for economic and social development for the ECOSOC and General Assembly. In accordance with General Assembly Resolution 54/231, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Assembly, for its consideration, the report of the high-level panel of experts on information and communication technology. In response to the General Assembly's request that this report be made available in early June 2000, this report was also available to the Economic and Social Council, given that the Council addressed, at the high-level segment of its substantive session of 2000, the theme of "Development and international cooperation in the twenty-first century: the role of information technology in the context of a knowledge-based global economy". (* A/55/50, ** E/2000/100)
Najat has extensive development experience working with Government, NGOs, private sector and international organizations, including the Internet Initiative for Africa, the Sustainable Development Networking Programme, the UN ICT Task Force, the Internet Society, etc. She is also a member of several think tank group and tasks forces in Africa and the Middle East.
She was senior adviser in many consultations for the implementing of Information Technology Policy for Economic and Social Development in Developing Countries, team leader for the national action plan for Information Technology in several countries, team leader for identifying the environment to develop the e-commerce and implementing start up enterprises for innovative services, information system, and communication strategy to sensitize and raise awareness of decision-makers and policy-makers to the strategic role of Information Technology in development.
She leads and organizes several workshops in policy formulation, Information Technology instruments and tools training, and project formulation.