In his opening address, Mr. Khalifa said, “It is critical for us to collectively work toward ensuring that our future ICT policies are created and harmonized on the pillars of knowledge, collaboration, commonality in developmental goals, and the passion to achieve human success. We need to develop and sustain processes for accelerating digitization in our economies, to guarantee social and economic progress throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.”
Reflecting on the Beyond Connectivity conference’s theme, Maximizing Revenues through Digital Excellence, Mr. Bocar BA, CEO of the SAMENA Council announced the finalization of the SAMENA ICT Policy Assessment and Digitization Study, initiated by the SAMENA Council in 2012 with the objective of understanding the state of digitization in the region, benefits of promptly executing national digitization plans, and ICT policy frameworks required to capture those benefits. The study was conducted in collaboration with Booz & Company, a globally renowned management consulting firm.
Commenting on the study, Bocar said, “The SAMENA Council’s study has shown that digitization requires and will drive substantial investment initiatives throughout the region’s expanding ICT ecosystem. Digitization is the future and a proven path to developing digital economies. If existing ICT policies are refined or new ones created with modern digital needs in perspective, the resulting accelerated rate of adoption of digital services will bring about substantial socio-economic benefit throughout the 25 markets that we have assessed in this study.”
Mr. BA added, “If we focus immediately on understanding and enabling digitization, we will ensure that its economic as well as human capacity-building impact will be achieved sooner than later.”
Conducted at a regional level, with special focus given to ten countries, some of the findings of the SAMENA Council’s ICT Policy Assessment and Digitization study show that:
Countries in the SAMENA region are aware of digitization’
Digitization will impact the society’s ability to transform itself and the governments’
Harnessing the benefits of digitization in the SAMENA region would require high investments of US$235 billion by 2020. The benefits of this investment will be shared by players within the ICT sector, across all economic sectors and the government.
As a part of this study, the SAMENA Council has also introduced a new concept of “SMART SAMENA”, which is built on the notion of accelerating digitization and meeting specific policy imperatives, which have been defined in the study.