The Shura Council held its regular weekly meeting on Monday at Tamim bin Hamad Hall under the chairmanship of HE Speaker of the Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim.
During the session, HE Secretary-General of Shura Council Nayef bin Mohammed Al Mahmoud read out the session's agenda and approved the minutes of the previous session.
The session was attended by HE Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai at the invitation of HE Speaker of the Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim to further elaborate on the Ministry's strategic plans, plans for digital transformation in the services offered by ministries and government bodies, along with the accomplishments of the E-government and its enhanced infrastructure, in addition to the Ministry's efforts to encourage investment in communications and IT technology sector, as well as other topics.
HE the Speaker of the Council and Their Excellencies members of the council welcomed HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, applauding the efforts being undertaken by the Ministry to advance the communication and IT sector based on the directives of the wise leadership, encourage investment and the unwavering efforts to accomplish digital transformation in all services afforded to citizens, in pursuit of achieving the development goals and the Qatar National Vision 2030.
In this context, His Excellency pointed out that the Shura Council discussed, in previous sessions, the topic of "disadvantages of using technology" submitted by a number of Their Excellencies members of the council as a public discussion request. Through the Cultural Affairs and Media Committee, the council studied the topic and hosted several officials and professionals to scrutinize all aspects of this topic.
HE Speaker of the Council pointed out that the council submitted a suggestion for the esteemed government's willingness on such a topic, due to its significance, stating that it included an array of perspectives that would reduce the negative impacts of modern technology, ensure good utilization and raise awareness on the risks of mishandling this technology.
At the outset of the presentation, HE Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai presented detailed overviews over the digital transformation strategy pursued by the Ministry, highlighting that it comes as part of the national efforts dedicated to enhancing the digital economy and improving the citizens' life quality.
HE the Minister pointed out that the strategy, in question, focuses on key multiple themes that include upgradation of the digital infrastructure and spurring innovation in the E-government services, highlighting that the Qatar Digital Government primarily focuses on providing a multitude of benefits for the Qatari community. He noted that the 2030 Digital Agenda strives to upgrade the government efficiency and focus on the services offered to the public.
Regarding the Ministry's strategic objectives, HE the Minister elucidated that the objectives entail promoting the level of government services afforded to individuals and companies, as well as government administrative processes and increasing the level of transparency and community engagement through government openness, noting the implementation of three major projects in the first phase to enhance community participation, which include the electronic participation project and the open data portal project.
On the policy and legislation side, His Excellency tackled the Ministrys efforts to enhance information and communications technology, by crafting appropriate laws, policies and standards in support of these efforts. He added that the Ministry has achieved most prominent milestones and performance indicators to evaluate those achievements, affirming that the Ministry has succeeded in increasing the percentage of government services available online, and improving the user experience to access them quickly and easily.
He underlined that performance indicators include providing a periodic evaluation of the extent to which the Qatar Digital Government achieves its vision and goals, including monitoring digital services and evaluating digital transformation in government agencies.
HE the Minister highlighted that the launch of the Digital Agenda 2030 is a critical event that reflects the comprehensive digital transformation within the country, as such a step is considered a continuation of the process of technological renaissance that drew on technological progress, sustainability and economic diversification, noting that the agenda represents the Ministry's ambitious vision to build a prosperous digital future for Qatar. It enhances Qatar's position as a pioneering global hub for technology and innovation.
In the same context, HE Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai indicated that the digital agenda includes a number of strategic programs that fall under six strategic pillars that support foreign investment, the government sector, entrepreneurship, and the private sector, and attract the world's leading information technology companies and digital talents.

HE the Minister hailed the digital factory as one of the important initiatives launched by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, to provide a unified digital platform that aims to relaunch government services and provide them interactively to citizens and residents. His Excellency added that develops the user experience and encourages innovation and provide high quality products at a competitive cost at the global level, which enhances sustainable development efforts and highlights Qatars role as a center for manufacturing leadership in the region.

He stressed that this initiative is among the most important strategic projects aimed at strengthening the manufacturing industry in Qatar, by adopting digital technology such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and 3D printing.

Regarding digital transformation, His Excellency the Minister of Communications and Information Technology indicated that the digital transformation of government services includes modernizing and improving government services to become more effective and easy to access online, including improving the user experience and reducing paper procedures.

He stressed that the Ministry is investing in developing the technological infrastructure to support digital transformation, by improving communications and providing a fast and reliable Internet network.

Regarding encouraging investment and educating society about the uses of technology, he said that the Ministry is working to encourage investment in the communications and information technology sector, and is carrying out campaigns to educate society about the importance of using technology and familiarizing it with the pros and cons of its use, by holding training and awareness programs, and holding workshops for both individuals and companies.

Regarding the file of supporting innovation and emerging projects, HE the Minister stressed that supporting innovation and encouraging emerging projects is one of the main goals of the Ministrys strategy, expressing his pride in cooperating with the private sector and academies to develop innovation centers that provide resources and support to innovators and entrepreneurs.

His Excellency pointed out that the Ministry has launched investment funds aimed at supporting promising projects in their early stages, in addition to working to remove regulatory obstacles that prevent the growth of these projects and enhancing the business environment to make them more attractive for investment.

In addition, Their Excellencies the Shura Council members appreciated the Ministrys efforts aimed at developing the digital infrastructure, in accordance with the directives of the wise leadership, and the digital transformation efforts and enhancing investment in this promising sector, stressing that the digital transformation efforts led by the Ministry contribute to improving government services and raising its efficiency.

Their Excellencies addressed several main topics: artificial intelligence, developing government services, protecting community members from electronic fraud, and programs and applications for emerging companies.

Speaking about these aspects, Their Excellencies stressed the absence of legislation related to artificial intelligence, pointing to the need to develop laws and regulatory frameworks that ensure optimal dealing with new technologies and provide legal protection for their users, through cooperation with educational and research institutions to develop policies and laws.

Regarding the challenges of digital transformation and the importance of accelerating this process to improve the provision of government services, Their Excellencies pointed to the need to reduce personal visits to complete government transactions, by strengthening the effective electronic system, reviewing the most prominent current problems such as redundancy and duplication of applications and the need to organize and improve these systems.

As for e-fraud, Their Excellencies focused on the challenges related to protecting community members from fraud.
The Shura Council members also stressed need for the development of programs and applications to meet the needs of young people in light of the digital transformation, pointing to the importance of cooperation between the Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to include materials related to technological awareness and provide educational programs to develop their emerging skills and educate them about the dangers of the digital space.

They noted the need for programs, applications and the content of social media programs directed to the Qatari community to be compatible with religious and moral values, in a way that is compatible with the customs and traditions of society and does not conflict with identity.

During their discussions with HE the Minister, the Council members stressed the need for the digital transformation strategy to be linked to achieving economic and social benefits for citizens, highlighting the significance of strengthening regional and international cooperation in the field of technology and exchanging experiences and knowledge to attain sustainable progress in the digital transformation domain.

The Council members called for the provision of special programs to support groups who face difficulty in dealing with technical developments so that they can keep pace with the digital transformation.

Replying to questions raised by members of the Shura Council about artificial intelligence and the development of government services, HE Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai affirmed that the Ministry is cooperating with research institutions, including Hamad Bin Khalifa University, to study the dimensions and effects of artificial intelligence developments and its rapid changes.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is examining the possibility of developing an advanced regulatory framework for artificial intelligence through which the ethical and legal challenges in this aspect can be dealt with.

His Excellency also stressed the ongoing efforts to improve and digitize government services to facilitate access to them and improve the user experience, with a focus on reducing redundancy and improving integration between different government applications.
Regarding protecting community members from fraud and developing programs for young people, HE the Minister noted extensive cooperation with the security bodies to combat electronic crimes and enhance security measures, with a focus on the international aspects of threats.

His Excellency stressed the importance of integrating technology into education and providing technological educational programs that contribute to developing young people's skills and making them aware of the safety of the digital space to enhance their ability to interact safely and effectively in a rapidly changing technological world.

Regarding the focus of the digital strategy on achieving economic and social benefits for citizens, His Excellency stressed that the strategy was designed based on these priorities, indicating that all digital plans and projects seek to create added value for society and improve the quality of life of citizens.

On the groups who face difficulty in dealing with technical developments, His Excellency stressed the Ministry's commitment to providing support and assistance to such groups and ensuring the provision of an enabling environment that allows them to effectively engage in digital transformation and benefit from its advantages.
At the conclusion of the presentation, HE the Speaker of the Shura Council, in his name and on behalf of the Council members, expressed his utmost thanks and appreciation to HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for the great interest given by His Highness to the communications and information technology sector, which reflected in the establishment of a special ministry for this vital and important sector as well as the establishment of a special national agency for cybersecurity to strengthen the country's efforts in seeking digital transformation, to realize global leadership, and to achieve national cybersecurity in the face of the global challenges for this sector.

His Excellency stressed the Council's keenness to support the Ministry's efforts and provide everything that would contribute to developing the information technology infrastructure, enhance digital transformation efforts and facilitate and digitize government procedures to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.