ADU Enterprise and ESCWA to launch “Digital Arabic Content Competition”

March 20, 2014 10:29 am

Abu Dhabi University’s Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship “ADU Enterprise” in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is organizing a workshop on the 10th of April to announce the launch of the “Digital Arabic Content Competition”.

In a bid to raise awareness on the importance of and generate more interest in digital Arabic content, the workshop will also shed more light on the challenges that face experts in developing content, as well as showcase some of the most successful business models of companies, in the Arabic digital content industry.

Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University explained that the significance of this initiative lies in ADU Enterprise’s collaboration with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), because of the vital role they play in promoting the importance and status of digital Arabic content.

“When comparing to digital content available in other languages, we find that there is a severe shortage in digital Arabic content, even though Arabic is one of the oldest and most widely spoken languages in the world. This workshop will allow Abu Dhabi University to highlight the importance of expediting the move of the Arab World into the world of digital communities that publish and share their sciences, knowledge, culture, and services digitally and in their own languages. Furthermore, it will allow us to discuss the various challenges that impede the transformation of the Digital Arabic Content industry into a thriving field, some of which include: our dependence on western digital content, the lack of research and programs specialized in the study of Arabic digital content and the shortage of human resources specialized in this field”, added Dr. Ibrahim.

On his part, Dr. Haidar Fraihat, ESCWA’s Director of Information and Communication Technology Division explained that the Arabic language is one of the five official languages of the United Nations, on the other hand, the Arabic digital content on the Internet is 2% of the total content although Arabic language speakers make up 5% of the world’s population. He pointed out that ESCWA seeks to encourage all efforts in Arab countries to enhance the digital Arabic content on the internet, both quantitatively and qualitatively. This is derived from a framework that promotes the advancement into knowledge-based economies and information societies in the Arab world.

Chief of ICT Applications Section, and Director of ESCWA’s Initiative for Promoting the Digital Arabic Content Industry through Technology Incubators, Dr.Nibal Idlebi clarified that this project aims to support young entrepreneurs in the Arab region, to build start-up companies and SMEs that can thrive in the field of developing and innovating Arabic digital content. She pointed out that this area provides promising new opportunities for Arab youth, especially since the size of this particular market is expected to reach 28 billion dollars in 2015, according to estimates by ESCWA.

Rima Shaban, Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre “ADU Enterprise” asserted that the “Digital Arabic Content” workshop will review the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of the digital Arabic content industry in the Arab region, as well as feature presentations on the business models of modern private companies, business start-ups in the Arabic digital content industry.

She added: “The workshop mainly targets entrepreneurs, students, and university graduates with creative ideas in the field of Arabic digital content, who aspire to participate in the competition, as well as experts from academia, the private sector, in the fields of IT, mobile phone applications, internet content, or even Arabic content developers. During the workshop, we will also announce the official launch of the “Digital Arabic Content Competition” through which the winners will receive incubation services from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Abu Dhabi University “ADU Enterprise” in collaboration with ESCWA to support the best project idea that enhances digital Arabic content.”