The Arab League launched a common vision for the digital economy within the first conference of the Arab digital economy, held in Abu Dhabi on December 17, 2018, as a new means to promote growth and social stability, as part of plans and ways to enhance inter-Arab cooperation in various fields, in order to benefit from the role The pivot of modern technology in the development of countries and their economies.
The League seeks to keep abreast of current developments and adopt best practices. It participates with ESCWA within the framework of the Roadmap Initiative for Internet Governance to be the Arab group of the first groups working on Internet governance at the regional level.
Despite the varying rates of digital transformation from one Arab country to another, the Arab League can unite the efforts of all concerned and mobilize their energies to focus on developing leading models of governance, business, finance and human talent in the region.
Supporting the plans of digital transformation and technological development in the Arab countries and encouraging the development of technological and legislative infrastructure.
Adopt reshaping processes, products and services using digital technology
The Technical Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers of Telecommunications and Information during the last meeting of the Executive Bureau of the Council of Ministers of Communications and Information held on 26-27 June 2019, discussed the item of the digital economy in the Arab region, recommended the following: Assigning the Arab ICT Strategy team to discuss the study presented by ESCWA entitled "Prospects for the Digital Economy in the Arab Region", as well as the Arab Strategy for Digital Economy prepared by the Arab Union for Digital Economy of the Council of Economic Unity.
Call upon the Arab Organization for Communication and Information Technology to coordinate with the Arab ICT Strategy team in this regard.
The Technical Secretariat is currently preparing, in cooperation with ESCWA, the Arab Digital Agenda 2030 which is based on inputs from the Arab ICT Strategy and the Arab Strategy for the Digital Economy, as well as some studies on the digital economy, Arab Digital Development Reports and the Arab Roadmap on Internet Governance.
The Arab Digital Agenda includes a study of each sub-component based on the analysis of relevant national and regional indicators in the light of the requirements of the sustainable development agenda.
The Digital Economy and the Arab Countries
On the other hand, community members contribute to the leadership of digital transformation in the Arab region. The digital consumption sector is witnessing a huge leap in terms of high rates of dependence on smartphones, social media usage and e-commerce. The UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain are the world's leading countries with 100% smartphone usage and more than 70% social media, even more than in the US.
The countries of the region face a great challenge to keep pace with this development in various fields and stand on the threshold of a pivotal stage of the huge digital transformation that leads to economic growth. It has an opportunity to transform its economy into a leading digital economy because of its positive impact on financial and social inclusion, poverty eradication and increased access to quality health care and education services.
With individuals ready to embrace new digital products, the region's leaders need to create a collaborative digital economy that can help our societies meet the challenges. They should also promote digital innovation and infrastructure development to improve the supply of ICT products as well as the development of digital services.
Analysis of the Current Situation of the Arab Countries:
National Digital Strategies for the Arab State: Opportunities and Challenges
Arab countries recognize the importance of developing national digital strategies to build an information society linked to socio-economic development and to achieve the goals of sustainable development, therefore, Arab countries launched several national digital strategies, which to be among the Arab countries in the ranks of the best countries in the world in terms of using the opportunities of digitization and enhance the competitiveness of countries and growth Many opportunities and challenges arise from unguided technologies.
Below we review the current situation of national digital strategies in the Arab countries, as well as the priorities of Arab countries within the policy objectives for the development of the economy and digital society.
Arab Countries: National Digital Strategies Available:
Of the 22 Arab countries, only 14 have developed a national digital strategy, plans or programs.
National digital strategies, plans or programs for Arab countries
National digital strategies
United Arab Emirates
Arab Countries: Digital Policy Objectives:
The objectives of the policy for the development of the economy and the digital society, which are covered by national digital strategies and have high priority in all Arab countries, are discussed below.
Strengthening the ICT Sector:
The first objective in all Arab national digital strategies is to increase support for the ICT sector, especially in the areas of research and development, promotion of standards, venture capital investments, foreign direct investment, and export of ICT goods and services.
Improving ICT infrastructure and broadband capabilities
The ICT infrastructure and broadband capabilities are improved through the development of national infrastructure and telecommunications services. For existing broadband networks, other objectives include the expansion of broadband networks and efficient spectrum allocation.
Enhancing e-Government Services:
This includes improved access to public sector information and data (open government data) and support for confidence in the digital society (digital identities, privacy and security). Arab countries employ web or mobile applications to support government responses and citizen confidence - such as the mobile application of "Engineering" and the "Rased" system in the UAE, the application "My application" on mobile in Morocco, customs application "Smart Traveler" on mobile In Tunisia, the application "We are all safe" in Saudi Arabia.
ICT adoption in education, healthcare and transport:
Many Arab digital strategies aim to adopt digital technologies and the Internet in these important societal sectors.
Basic and advanced ICT measures vary from a focus on infrastructure (e.g. better communication between educational institutions) to promoting ICT-related curricula, teacher training and e-learning environments (e-course open e-courses, for example), and e-health standards focus on ensuring broad communication Quality through the health care system.
Promoting the adoption of ICTs by family and individuals aims to improve social policy goals. E-inclusion requires expanding broadband access to disadvantaged areas, increasing digital literacy and raising awareness about online risks and opportunities
Enhancing financial inclusion:
Rapid technological changes support financial inclusion (increasing the number of low-income people accessing and using financial services) that play an important role in alleviating poverty and promoting economic growth. In 2017, the Global F index survey found that Arab countries have the lowest financial inclusion in the world .
Developing digital skills and functions:
All Arab countries recognize the importance of improving skills and competencies as a means of promoting e-inclusion. Developing skills and competencies is essential for the digital economy.
Advanced Cyber Security (Internet Information Security):
General information regarding cyber risks and measures to combat cybercrime often appears in Arab national digital economy strategies.
Arab Countries: Governance of National Digital Strategies:
The strategy is often managed by a ministry or agency, which is not specialized in digital matters, while a minority of Arab countries assume this responsibility for a ministry or digital affairs authority. Most Arab countries involve many private stakeholders and public bodies to contribute. With inputs to develop its own national digital strategy.
Many ministries, agencies or institutions in the Arab countries are responsible for the implementation of national digital strategies, and in some countries, many stakeholders are involved in their implementation. And formatted.
Arab governments have set several measurable targets within a specific timeframe to monitor the implementation of their national digital strategies, as well as targets to measure progress in the development and performance of broadband infrastructure and public sector services and performance, the use of digital technologies and the development of ICT skills.