Internet usage, big data, cybersecurity, business usage of ICT and the empowerment of citizens across the Arab world were some of the key themes explored at the E-government Roundtable, held as part of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai today.
The event was led by experts from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), showcasing its efforts to support the enhancement of an innovative and progressive digital Arab region.
Delegates explored the impact of the digital economy on men and women across the Arab region, identifying usage, impact and gender gaps that governments need to address as part of a digital transformation.
Participants discussed the regulatory frameworks currently in place to support innovation in technology. Cooperation and coordination across the region were highlighted as critical aspects in the enhancement of the digital regional economy.
Secretary of the Commission at ESCWA Karim Khalil, led the discussions and outlined suggestions in terms of training provided by its ‘Open Government’ initiative: “We are committed to helping establish and support effective frameworks whereby e-government services can be effectively rolled out as part of a wider ICT strategy, something the UAE is driving extremely well. But it is not a one-size-fits-all approach – each country across the Arab world and its respective governments are at different stages in the continuum of effectively embracing the digital economy.”
Khalil added: “We will be hosting open government training sessions in MENA and across the GCC region, with leading experts providing advice on policy development and tools for effective measurement of success. Cooperation with member states is critical to our work, helping us to accurately define and understand country-specific national needs. What will be important moving forward in the Arab world is the creation of a more level playing field in terms of the digital landscape.”
Headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and coordination and a hub of expertise and knowledge. It is one of five regional commissions under the administrative direction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, promoting economic and social development of Western Asia through regional and sub-regional cooperation and integration across its 18 member states.