Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
18 December 2019
ATICM Adopts Egyptian Proposal for Forming Arab AI Team

The Arab Telecommunications and Information Council of Ministers (ATICM), during its 23rd Session in Riyadh, adopted, today, the Egyptian proposal for forming an Arab Artificial Intelligence (AI) team.

The team will be entitled to develop a unified Arab strategy, adopt convenient and stimulating regulatory frameworks for leveraging AI, and come up with a guidance document, for ATICM Member States, on the best ways to employ these frameworks to serve the goals of the Arab countries.

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat chaired, yesterday, the 46th Ordinary Session of ATICM Executive Bureau, organized by the Technical Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS), in Riyadh. The session was attended by the Assistant Secretary General Head of Economic Affairs at LAS Kamal Hassan Ali and representatives of ATICM Executive Bureau Member States, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Tunis, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine.

The session discussed the Egyptian proposal for forming an Arab AI team, developing a joint framework for capacity building, raising awareness of the pros and cons of this technology and qualifying youth to compete for relevant jobs.

ATICM 23rd session discussed a number of proposals to develop the ICT community in the Arab world.

The Council adopted a number of recommendations, the most prominent of which was approving forming an interim Arab team for ICT indicators and agreeing on holding the 46th meeting of the Permanent Arab Committee for Communications and Information during the second quarter of 2020, in coordination with the Committee Chair, at LAS General Secretariat headquarters, unless one of the Arab countries offered to host it.

During the session, Riyadh was elected the Arab digital capital for 2020. The session approved forming a team from the General Secretariat, the Arab Regional Office of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO) and any Arab country interested in developing a mechanism with new inputs for selecting the Arab digital capital.

The session also approved forming a coordinating committee from ATICM Technical Secretariat, Interior, Justice, and countries and organizations interested in participating in developing joint mechanisms to serve the Arab joint action organization in cybersecurity.

ATICM, in addition, welcomed Egypt Post’s initiative for preparing the design of the commemorative stamp for LAS diamond jubilee.

The session was attended by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Bishar Hussein, and Kamal Hassan Ali.

During his speech, the ICT Minister presented Egypt’s comprehensive vision to establish a joint digital Arab community, based on three main pillars. The first is raising the efficiency of the digital infrastructure in Arab countries, thus allowing more access to information and ensuring quality and sustainability of the communication services provided to citizens. This is in addition to providing excellent digital services to citizens and the business sector, to achieve financial inclusion and pave the way for establishing digital economy rules.

The second pillar entails building young Arabs’ capacities in modern technology and promoting digital innovation through focusing on creating a base of digitally skilled calibers. This is in addition to adopting effective policies for ICT-based innovation, through which key players, including the government sector, academic and research bodies, financial institutions, the private sector, entrepreneurs and support networks, shall synergize efforts to foster creative ideas and transform them into value-added technology products.

The third pillar focuses on integrating advanced technologies, AI in particular, in a digital system, and using its applications to support decision making to provide distinct technical services to help achieve the desired development.

Talaat, in addition, witnessed launching the joint Arab digital declaration for building a prosperous sustainable digital society, including five principles. This includes overcoming all obstacles for leveraging digital economy; supporting youth, as they drive progress in the digital world; maximizing the value of the Arab world's data and optimizing it given its essential role in digital development and future leadership.

This is in addition to fostering innovators and entrepreneurs, creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in different sectors, and synergizing efforts and situations to make the Arab world a regional and global power in the digital world.

The ICT Minister met with his Saudi counterpart, on the sidelines of the session, where they discussed enhancing cooperation between the two countries in ICT. The two sides witnessed the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on cooperation in digital transformation, capacity building, AI, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and post.

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