Arab Advisors' Convergence Summit opens in Amman
HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan inaugurates 10th edition of the event
Jordan's HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan officially opened the tenth edition of the Arab Advisors' Annual Convergence Summit in Amman today.
The two-day event, which is being held at the Four Seasons Hotel, is focused on the regional dynamics governing the ICT industry including content, broadband and cloud strategies.
In her opening address, Princess Sumaya told delegates that ICT is an industry that Arabs can take ownership of, but added: "We must be sure that we are building for the future and not just for a quick fix of profit and play."
She added that content, broadband and cloud strategies can help to build a brighter future for the region and place it on an equal footing to the wider world, but the industry must work with the government and civil society to ensure that the important "developmental aspects" of growth are not ignored by new technology and telecoms capacity.
"But this does not mean that profit in the industry should be sacrificed," Princess Sumaya said. "For if we make it easier for people to benefit from better opportunities in health, education or nutrition, for example, then industry players can profit with the right support and business models."
HRH added that "broadband everywhere" strategies were an exciting possibility that could make Wi-Fi a driver of growth and social development across the Arab world. This places a responsibility on governments and the industry to ensure that growth and development are spread equally and help to create opportunity for all, she added.
Jawad J Abbassi, Arab Advisors' founder and general manager, said the Arab World "is ripe now for the next phase of TMT development".
He stated that the massive growth in connectivity and infrastructure, such as the growth of cellular lines to 393m in 2012 from 25m in 2002, represented the "low hanging fruits".
"Its recipe is relatively easy: Liberalisation and investment, FDI and local," he said. "The focus now is on the soft infrastructure for 2020 and beyond, such as e-government, e-commerce, e-health, online entertainment and the potential to better the lives of people, economically and socially. Higher Internet adoption, along with the increased awareness of e-service, led the estimated annual spending on B2C e-commerce in the Arab World to be more than $11bn for the year 2012," he added.