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In order to fulfil its commitment to support Arab countries and all stakeholders in facing the COVID-19 pandemic through digital technologies and highlight their efforts in this matter, the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO) and the Technical Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers organized in partnership with ESCWA the first Arab Webinar entitled “ICT fighting Covid-19: Arab initiatives and success stories”. The webinar allowed all stakeholders in the region to present their experiences and share best practices to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

The first session was moderated by Mr. Toni Eid, founder of Telecom Review and CEO of Trace Media and started with a speech by H.E. Mr. Juraj Reican, director of UN-ESCWA cluster on statistics, information society and technology. He stated that this crisis showed that our societies were not ready for such circumstances and that digital technologies are the most important factor in dealing with them.

“With the aim of integrating digital development, ESCWA has supported Arab countries in elaborating national digital development reviews that will allow them to build their own information societies”, he said.

H.E. Eng. Mohamed ben Amor, director general of the Arab ICT Organization (AICTO) gave the next keynote in which he highlighted the role that the organization has been playing during the pandemic.

In light of COVID-19, the Arab Information Communication Technologies Organization (AICTO) has decided to launch a special platform within the framework of unconventional plans elaborated in the Arab region and the world to cope with the exceptional circumstances. This initiative aims to shed light on each of the Arab countries’ plans and measures taken to contain the repercussions of the COVID-19 through ICTs.

“We have organized this webinar to shed light on this platform and on the successful experiences in the Arab region in countering COVID-19,” he said.

Eng. Mohamed Ben Amor thanked Telecom Review for being its official media partner and for all the support that it has been giving to the AICTO throughout the years in covering all its activities and initiatives.

The next speech was presented by H.E. Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali, deputy secretary general of the League of Arab States head of the economic sector. He explained that technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity, especially in such difficult times where remote working and telehealth have emerged. Dr. Ali added that COVID-19 has highlighted the role of technology in coping with the crisis, notably with the emergence of remote working and telehealth.

The three opening speeches were followed by two panels: “the ministerial panel: Arab strategies and plans against Covid-19” and “Initiatives and best practices: ICT projects and initiatives from AICTO partners and members”. Both panels discussed the experiences of Arab countries and organizations in fighting COVID-19 through ICTs.

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