We, as businesses, governments and societies, need to provide the means for individuals to learn, dream, work and create – Abu-Ghazaleh
The ArabNet 2010, the first international conference for the Arab web industry, opened its doors on Thursday under the patronage of HE the President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon Mr. Saad Hariri at Habtoor Grand Hotel in Beirut.
Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and chairman and CEO of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) in his keynote speech tackled key issues related to the industry.
“I will not attempt to lecture to this knowledgeable leadership and group of experts. Instead I will try to pose some questions and to answer them from my own perspective,” he addressed the attendees.
In his speech, Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh underlined the future of Internet, the Growth in Internet Content, How to measure this content, Multilingualism of the Internet and How to advance MDG achievements.
“GAID is overseeing many productive programs. One of which is developing, with the blessing of the UN Secretary General, a matrix of “ICT 4 MDG” providing guidance on ICT as enablers for reaching the MDG goals, and on barriers to ICT access, such that we may create active plans which may be used by individual countries. This should also produce a map for ICT innovation. This project, which I chair, is led by H.E. the UN Secretary General as our Honorary Chair,” Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh said.
In addition, he highlighted the means to harness ICTs, saying “Today almost everyone is aware of the economic potential of ICT investment. However the key to success in the broad picture is to remember that when we discuss ICTs we are really talking about the facilitation of human creativity and entrepreneurial innovation. We, as businesses, governments and societies, need to provide the means for individuals to learn, dream, work and create.”
Other topics including uses for ICT, the Global Divide, the broadband potential, how to motivate innovation in IT, Arab Knowledge Societies, in addition to ICT 4D.
Moreover Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh called for more focus on R & D in the Arab world sating that according to the Arab Human Development Report, R&D by Arab countries in the area of agriculture and food production is “insignificant”.
“So if the Arab world lags the rest of the world, is it a wonder? May be its time we reexamine our priorities. One organization that is aiming to do so is ASREN. The Arab Scientific Research and Education Network (ASREN ) is being born as an independent and not-for-profit organization with a mission to implement, manage and extend sustainable Pan-Arab e-Infrastructures dedicated for Research and Education connecting national research and education networks (NRENs) in the Arab countries," he said.
The event organized by the International Business Alliance Group (IBAG) and held under the title "Trends and Opportunities in Arab Web Business" brought together leaders from across the MENA, Europe and Silicon Valley to discuss cutting-edge trends and emerging opportunities.
Through pitch sessions, the conference features the region's brightest ideas and most promising Internet start-ups, and connects them with the Internet ecosystem: incubators, angel investors, venture capitalists, established Internet companies, NGOs and influential bloggers.
ArabNet is one of the first events in the region to be fully live-tweeted and live-streamed, allowing interested individuals around the world to benefit from the insights of the conference speakers, and providing the entrepreneurs pitching their ideas and startups with tremendous exposure.