29 December 2020
Arab Telecommunications and Information Council of Ministers 24th Session Meeting


The meeting of the Arab Telecommunications and Information Council of Ministers (ATICM) 24th Session convened on December 17, via videoconference. The meeting was organized by ATICM Technical Secretariat and chaired by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat.

During the meeting, Egypt was announced Chair of the Session, and the New Administrative Capital was selected as the Arab Digital Capital for 2021.

The ICT Minister highlighted that the meeting is part of the combined efforts to build an Arab digital society, in light of the technology and information revolution that the world is witnessing. He said that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic proved that the ICT sector is a crucial component and a driver to other sectors.

Talaat presented Egypt’s vision for building an Arab digital society, based on three main pillars: achieving digital transformation, building digital skills and capacities, and promoting innovation and digital creative work. These pillars stand on important bases: developing the digital infrastructure and providing the necessary regulatory framework for governing the system.

Moreover, Talaat stressed the significance of developing the digital information infrastructure in Arab countries, in a way that ensures improving the quality of digital services and the sustainability of providing them to citizens and to the business sector, thus contributing to achieving digital inclusion and laying the foundations for digital economy.
The ICT Minister underlined Egypt’s keenness to perform its role as one of the Arab countries that host a large number of international cables. Egypt continued to develop a robust international infrastructure through adding more stations to the 15 international cables that it hosts, he added. Talaat called for establishing an international network linking Arab countries to each other, adding that for implementing this initiative, Egypt is ready to provide 10 Gbps on the submarine cables owned by Telecom Egypt to connect the country with the Arab countries who also host the cables. The aim is to create a unique and excellent Arab communications network.
 
Talaat said that he looks forward to the Arab AI Working Group coming into effect. The formation of the Group was approved last year, but it has not entered into force yet due to COVID-19. The Group work is important for forming a unified Arab stance in international forums to represent the Arab identity and showcase the development projects that Arab countries seek to carry out in this area.

The meeting discussed the results of the 38th Session of the Arab Permanent Postal Committee (APPC), and the results of the 46th Session of the Arab Permanent Committee for ICT. The later addressed the role of ICT in facing COVID-19; cybersecurity; fighting cybercrime and cyber terrorism; Arab cooperation with other ICT regional groups and organizations; and the importance of the Arab participation in the preparation for the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2021 (WTDC-21).
 
In addition, the meeting looked into the activities of ATICM observatory bodies, including ITU Regional office for Arab States; the Arab Information and Communication Technology Organization (AICTO); the Arab Regulators Network (AREGNET); and China-Arab States Technology Transfer Center of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (CASTTC-AASTMT). This is in addition to discussing issues facing Palestine, the initiative for Internet governance in the Arab region, and the work of the Regional Forum on Arab Digital Content.
 
Egypt's proposal to host the 47th Session of the Arab Permanent Committee for ICT during the second quarter of 2021 was welcomed during the meeting. The meeting also discussed the potential structure of ATICM Executive Bureau, and the date and place for holding the Bureau’s 48th and 49th Sessions and ATICM 25th Session.

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