ITU Connect Arab Summit puts broadband top of agenda

By Telecom Lead Team: ITU’s Connect
Arab Summit 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.

They will also look to mobilize the human, financial and
technical resources needed to bridge the digital divide in countries right
across the Arab world.

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.

Fixed broadband penetration averages 2.2 percent in the Arab
States overall, compared with 6.2 percent in the Asia & Pacific region,
15.5 percent in the Americas and 25.8 percent 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 Hamadoun Toure, secretary general, ITU.

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. Sheikh Hamad bin 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 Innovation.

The three-day program 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 Hessa Al-Jaber, secretary general of
Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR).

[email protected]