Regional Development Forum for Arab States reviews implementation of Regional Initiatives

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The 2016 Arab States Regional Development Forum was held in Rabat, Morocco, from 28 to 29 March under the theme “ICT for Sustainable Development”.

The Forum was organized by ITU in collaboration with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) of Morocco.

The Forum discussed progress made in the implementation of the five Arab Regional Initiatives approved by the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) held in 2014.

It also reviewed and discussed the ITU Arab Regional Office operational plan for the next two-years, the activities of ITU-D Study Groups and the ITU Centers of Excellence Network.

“The Regional Development Forums (RDFs) are a crucial part of our efforts to strengthen ITU’s Regional presence and enhance our accountability through annual regional reporting on the activities of ITU,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“The RDF is meant to be a platform for dialogue and interaction on the implementation of Dubai Action Plan between ITU-D Members and BDT as well as an occasion to extend the conversation on development issues to the telecom/ICT ecosystem multi-stakeholders who are not yet Members of ITU,” he added.

Mr Azdine El Montassir Billah, Director General of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) of Morocco, while noting the positive progress made by Arab countries in the implementation of ICT development policies said, “there is need for increased coordination and consultation between States in order to identify strategies that will help them reap maximum benefit from the rapid evolution of ICTs, which are today considered as an enabler socio-economic development.”

During the Forum, Mr Ebrahim Al Haddad, ITU Regional Director for the Arab States presented a status report on the implementation of the Arab Regional Initiatives. The Initiatives focus on the following areas: broadband, cybersecurity, ICTs for the environment, smart learning, and ICTs for persons with disabilities.

“The implementation of these Initiatives will have a significant multiplier effect on the development of knowledge societies in the Arab region. It will also significantly contribute to bridging the digital divide within countries and across the region,” said Mr Al Haddad.

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