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    Dr. Salem Delivers Egypt’s Speech at Connect Arab Summit on Behalf of Field Marshal Tantawi

    Cairo, 6 March 2012

    In the presence of Emir of Qatar, Secretary-General of the Arab League, and Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Egypt calls for a joint modern Arab project to develop the digital Arabic content on the internet.

    In the summit, Egypt asserted the need to unify the powers and capacities of the Arab countries into a single strong entity. Such a cohesive bloc would materialize the slogan of “joint Arab action” and make the Arab states a strong player in the international arena.

    The Egyptian information and communication technology (ICT) sector has maintained its coherence and strength despite of the difficult circumstances Egypt has been undergoing, which have undoubtedly impacted its economy.

    Thanks to its strategic growth reserve, and due to the fact that it has been one of Egypt’s development locomotives during the last century, ICT sector not only successfully surpasses those circumstances, but also witnesses a constant growth and a remarkable development.

    The above is part of the speech delivered by the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Mohamed Salem on behalf of the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, in the opening session of the ‘Connect Arab’ Summit hosted by Qatar between 5 and 7 March 2012.

    The summit, held in Doha, is organized by the Arab ICT Council of Ministers in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    The summit is attended by the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Dr. Nabil El Arabi, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hamdoun Touré and a number of kings, presidents and emirs of Arab countries.

    Dr. Salem denoted that the international IT status is based on key elements required for the advancement of ICT sector. These elements consist of constant development and security of the technological infrastructure, adaptation of ICT tools to promote opportunities for social and economic developments and to enhance creativity and innovation in the community.

    Dr. Salem also pointed out that developing the basic technological infrastructure and the speedy access to the internet are of the main constant challenges imposed by the world of ICT.

    In November 2011, Egypt launched a national scheme to provide high-speed internet services, known as “eMisr”, on both medium and long term until 2015 and 2021 respectively. The scheme has an inclusive vision for the future of broadband in Egypt, the services and projects to be used to achieve socio-economic development.

    Aiming to adapt the ICT technologies as a main tool to boost development through involving these tools in societal obstacles and difficulties, and thus, find innovative technology solutions, Egypt calls for a joint community vision.

    Such a vision is not only based on developing public service sectors such as education, health, agriculture and environment, but also relies on changing the attitude of the State’s institutions providing services to the public. This would result in shifting the Arab world into a new phase of “Digital citizenship” and “Technological Community”.

    In reference to the creativity and innovation as an important element in advancing the ICT sector, Dr. Salem stresses, in his speech to the summit, the importance of quality development in this field. He says that this kind of development will shift the Arab world into a phase where we can invest our youth capacities and powers, and free the minds of our researchers and inventors to broader scientific prospects.

    The scientific research and technological innovations must be the cornerstone in any structure we would build together, Dr. Salem adds. Furthermore, he explains that this would only be accomplished through a wide base of distinguished university education crowned by genuine interest in scientific research, in line with advancing the steps taken by our Arab states in this regard.

    At the end of his speech, minister of ICT stresses on the inevitable need to develop the Arabic content on the internet. Dr. Salem calls all parties to unify their efforts through a civilized Arab project that mixes between our Arabic originality and our modern life.

    From his point of view, this can be accomplished through adopting an initiative to develop the Arabic digital content on the internet aiming at preserving our Arabic heritage, ensuring its succession and inheritance among generations, and accessibility to all people around the globe.

    In this regard, Dr. Salem calls for a meeting in Cairo at the earliest convenience to discuss the means of implementing this initiative.

    On the sideline of the summit, Egypt is scheduled to launch a number of regional initiatives that represent a practical outline of cooperation with the Arab countries in the near future. This is best achieved by enhancing the framework of the joint Arab action in ICT field, in addition to pursuing the digital Arabic content initiative.

    In a practical step to materialize these ambitious plans, Dr. Salem will be launching today the “Arab ICT Indicators Portal”. Being the first of its kind, the portal is a major database for ICT indicators in the Arabic region.

    Moreover, this portal allows every Arab country to compare and contrast its indicators to those of the other Arab States. This makes it an important assessment tool that serves policy makers in Arab countries, and allows them to follow the developments in ICT performance, and draft future policies and strategies.

    The portal results from the fruitful partnership between the ITU regional office and the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in Egypt. It is implemented by a highly experienced developers’ teamwork at MCIT.

    Furthermore, Dr. Salem launches the “Memory of the Arab World Project” implemented by the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT) in cooperation with ITU.

    The director of CULTNAT, Dr. Fathi Saleh reviews the experience of the center in this regard, as well as the implementation plan for the second phase of this regional project.

    The project goal is to allow Arab generations to learn about their inheritance and heritage through a documented electronic memory. This memory consists of databases and geographic information system, published on the internet and CDs.

    The Memory of the Arab World Project is established under the patronage and the support of MCIT, Arab League, UNESCO, ITU, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

    The Connect Arab Summit is indeed an important step in the march to achieve the principles and goals of ITU which seeks to bridge the digital gaps through the mobilization of technical and human resources. The summit brings together leaders and experts both in the private and public sectors, thus allowing partnerships and networking opportunities. Moreover, this summit is an opportunity to meet with funding and developing institutions both on regional and international levels.

    Related Webcasts
    Dr. Salem on the National TV Talking about Egypt’s Participation in Connect Arab Summit
    Time: 04:13   Size: 8.38 MB
    Date Published: 6 Mar 2012

    Minister of ICT Delivers Egypt’s Speech at Connect Arab Summit on Behalf of Field Marshal Tantawi | Arabic Language Only
    Time: 08:49   Size: 30.7 MB
    Date Published: 6 Mar 2012

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