A number of prominent speakers and officials from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and other countries will be sharing their experiences, visions and concerns related to the IT sector during the three-day conference being hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Mr. Abdul Rahman Al Mutaiwee, Director General of DCCI, said: “We have selected a host of prominent speakers, specially those specialising in IT, to share with the participants the success stories of some Arab countries. But at the same time, we have included topics that will drive home the message that a lot more needs to be done by Arab countries to keep pace with the IT revolution.”
Dr. Mohamed El-Ghamrawy Dawoud, Chairman of the General Authority for Investment & Free Zones, Egypt, who will be addressing the conference on “Investment Opportunities in IT” will dwell on Egypt’s success stories in the areas of software engineering, information technology and hardware electronics design.
“The catch-phrase of the future is technological efficiency, defined by how quickly and seamlessly a nation can adapt to an ever-changing technological landscape,” says Dr. El Ghamrawy. “Egypt is uniquely positioned to capitalise on creative technological opportunities.”
Dr. El-Ghamrawy will talk about Egypt’s plan to train young IT professionals through IT training centres and kids’ clubs; incentives to multinational corporations to invest in IT; technological incubators to support new companies; the Smart Village project, smart infrastructure; e-Government; e-commerce and several future projects.
Referring to Egypt’s plan to take the IT revolution to school level, Dr. El-Ghamrawy said: “Over 200,000 children have already been provided with necessary tools and knowledge to compete in the international market-place. This programme will continue and expand at the rate of 200 new centres per year.”
Another prominent speaker will be Dr. Abdulilah Dewaichi, Regional Advisor, Communications and Computer Networking, UN ESCWA, who will present a paper on “Computers and Related Hardware Products” on the second day of the conference on November 13.
“The main theme of my paper is that if the Arab world failed to take steps to catch up with the developed world in the field of IT, Arab countries run the risk of being confronted with the same problems they had during the earlier industrial revolution,” said Dr. Dewaichi.
History shows that Arab countries were largely left lagging behind during the earlier industrial revolution, according to Dr. Dewaichi.
“Arab countries met with failure because they started late and didn’t focus on right ideas. If they follow the same approach they will reach a similar dead-end in the new e-revolution sweeping the world,” Dr. Dewaichi adds.
“Too much emphasis on application of IT, and not on research & development and manufacture of products, will make us a mere consumer society,” Dr. Dewaichi says.
“Arabs are in the danger of becoming mere users of commodities rather than partners in IT manufacturing and research.”
Dr. Dewaichi will dwell on a number of issues that are vital to ensure the successful transition of Arab countries from the traditional economy to e-economy.
According to Dr. Dewaichi, the region’s lack of venture capital is deplorable. “The start has been slow, and there is not much innovative spirit. The inspiration for IT activity usually comes from foreign or external forces, rather than from within. We seem to be working from top downwards, instead of starting from the bottom.”
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