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Middle East and North Africa

Crystallizing a digital strategy in the "Pearl of Arabia"

Dr. Salim Sultan Al-Ruzaiqi's picture
Known as the “Pearl of Arabia“ for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the Sultanate of Oman is also striving to adopt economic reforms that are in accordance with global market expectations and demands of our time. The country is currently undergoing a transition to a knowledge-based economy as outlined in its economic vision 2020. Information and communication technologies are at the core of this transformation, serving as the key enabler of economic diversification.
 
A view of Muscat, Oman's capital.
Photo: Andrew Moore, flickr

Oman’s national e-Governance initiative — which is called eOman — came into effect in 2003 and since then has been serving as the main framework for Oman’s digital transformation, including ICT industry and infrastructure development, creation of better public services and development of human capital. Since 2009, Oman has been consistently recognized by the United Nations Public Service Programme for its efforts.
 
We asked Dr. Salim Sultan Al-Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive Officer of the Information Technology Authority (ITA) of Oman — the agency responsible for the implementation of eOman strategy — to share with us the key solutions his agency has been working on to tackle the country’s development challenges and to highlight some of the lessons learned. Read Dr. Al-Ruzaiqi’s selected responses below, or download the full version of the interview here

Can you tell us some of the key points of the Oman Digital Strategy (e.oman)?
Let me start first by emphasizing that His Majesty’s grand vision of diversifying the Omani economy was the key driver of embarking on developing and implementing e.oman. This grand vision was set out in the economic vision 2020 that included transforming Oman into a sustainable knowledge based society. In His address to Oman Council in November 2008, His Majesty stressed the need to develop the technological and practical skills of citizens and provide them with the resources and training required to enhance their capabilities and incentivize them to seek knowledge. His Majesty also directed the Government to simplify processes, adopt technology in its daily operation, and focus on electronic delivery of its services.

We've updated the Africa tech hub map using your suggestions

Tim Kelly's picture


My recent blog "Tech hubs across Africa: Which will be the legacy-makers?" generated a long list and a wide range of comments, many suggesting tech hubs we hadn't noted on the map. As a result of your feedback, we've updated the list and created a new map.

Here are also two helpful new links that were sent my way as a result of this ongoing dialogue: Of course, since the technology landscape is always changing, the list will never be complete. We request your ongoing help to add value by making new comments. Thank you for being part of our global community.

Türkiye ve Tunus’taki alan adı serbestleştirmesinden neler öğrenebiliriz?

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: English | Français

 

Afrika’daki özel şirketler –özellikle küçük ve orta büyüklükteki işletmeler (KOBİ)- arsında internet kullanımını en iyi şekilde nasıl  teşvik edebiliriz? Nüfusun çoğunluğunun 20 yaş altında olduğu ve mobil geniş bant hizmetlerinin hızlı bir şekilde yaygınlaşması sonucunda dijital kanallar[1] yoluyla bilgiye erişimin –bir önceki nesle göre-  giderek yaygınlaştığı bir kıtada bu sorunun önemi her geçen gün artmaktadır.

Bu soru aynı zamanda, müşterilerin ve iş ortaklarının bilgi ve iletişim teknolojilerini çok daha yoğun kullandığı artan ekonomik küreselleşme bağlamında büyüme ve rekabet gücü bakımından da büyük önem taşımaktadır.

What we can learn from domain name liberalization in Turkey and Tunisia

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: Français | Türkçe

 

How can we best promote the use of Internet by private companies – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – in Africa? This question is of growing significance on a continent where most of the population is under 20 years of age and – compared to the previous generation – increasingly accessing information through digital channels[1] as a result of the rapid expansion of mobile broadband services.

This question is also crucial in terms of growth and competitiveness in the context of the growing economic globalization, where customers and business partners use information and communication technologies in a much more intensive manner.

Mauritanian youth stand ready for ICT-related jobs

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: Français

 


According to Mariem Kane (left) and Adi Ould Yacoub, ICT is one of the biggest solutions to the problem of youth employment in Mauritania, their country.
Whenever I visit Nouakchott – the capital of Mauritania  I am told that mobile communications are perfectly suited to the nation's nomadic people, covering areas where there is no fixed network, such as along rural roads or in the dunes where families retreat on weekends. I am also told that the mobile broadband Internet, when it becomes available at more affordable prices and better service quality across the Mauritanian landscape, will be heartily adopted by the population  especially for sending pictures and videos as well as accessing the content available on the web. Mobile technology is already well-supported in the local market: ordinary citizens can get their smartphones or tablets repaired at the "Noghta Sakhina" (Hot Spot) in Nouakchott.
 
But when I am in Mauritania, I rarely hear about the opportunities that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can bring in terms of jobs  particularly jobs that require the creativity, innovation and radical new ways of collaboration, interaction and learning that provide professional growth for the nation's youthful population. We are increasingly able to see that young people around the world have remarkable individual capacity to code and develop solutions for applications, including mobile solutions, which dramatically improves their job prospects demand grows for the development of multilingual content on global broadband networks.

Lowering Barriers to High Speed Internet in the Arab World

Michel Rogy's picture

On affordability grounds alone, millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could be excluded from today’s information revolution. Meeting this challenge has become a top regional priority. Many countries in the Arab world have identified broadband Internet as a critical input to the broader objective of nation building and the transition to a knowledge-based economy. There is growing consensus that broadband Internet is critical in fostering sustainable economic development and job creation, and a key component of strategies for reducing poverty, enhancing job opportunities, and advancing trade integration. Indeed broadband is expected to have a similar impact on the transformation of the economy and of society as a whole as the printing press, steam engines, or electricity had in the past. But for it to have its full impact, people will need access to it.

Partage d'expérience sur les environnements favorables aux investissements haut débit: la fibre en Turquie

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: English | Türkçe

Le développement économique étant fortement corrélé avec l’utilisation de l’Internet haut débit, les gouvernements partout dans le monde cherchent à favoriser le déploiement des technologies large bande. Le gouvernement turc, par exemple, a récemment défini des objectifs ambitieux pour sa stratégie nationale haut débit : 60 millions de clients en 2023 (il y en a 33,7 millions en septembre 2013), une connexion d’au moins 100 Mbit/s pour chaque foyer, avec de la fibre optique déployée vers la plupart des maisons ou immeubles (technologie FFTH (fibre optique jusqu’à la maison) ou FTTB (fibre optique jusqu`à l’immeuble)), la diffusion des technologies haut débit mobile de nouvelle génération (telle que 4G/LTE), et la vision que la Turquie devienne un hub régional pour les infrastructures de télécommunications.

Brokering knowledge on broadband investments environment: Turkey’s approach to fiber

Michel Rogy's picture
Also available in: Français | Türkçe

Because the penetration of high speed internet is strongly correlated with economic growth, governments around the world are eager to promote the diffusion of broadband technologies.  The Turkish Government recently set out ambitious roll-out and take up targets for broadband: 60 million subscriptions in 2023 (up from 33.7 in September 2013), at least 100 Mbps connection for every household, with fiber-optic cables deployed to most homes or buildings (in short: FTTH (Fiber to the Home) or FTTB (Fiber to the Building), diffusion of next generation mobile broadband technologies (such as 4G/LTE), and a vision of the country being a regional hub for telecommunications infrastructure.

Speeding up affordable access to broadband Internet in MENA

Michel Rogy's picture

Ensuring that backbone telecommunications networks are widely accessible, of good quality, and delivered efficiently and competitively is critical to boosting productivity and international competitiveness in the MENA region. They are major determinants of production costs and speeding up affordable access to broadband Internet will ultimately result in higher employment, growth, and improved living standards.