Huawei Arab Innovation Day 2021 has set the regional agenda for driving digital transformation and the adoption and application of advanced technologies in the Arab world, while reiterating the need for nurturing local ICT (information, communication and technology) talent and robust cybersecurity measures.
The event witnessed landmark keynotes and discussions led by ministerial and senior leaders from the Arab governments, regional and international ICT organisations and high-level technology stakeholders from different verticals and industries.
The regional leaders also took the opportunity to shed light on the advantages of integrating technologies like 5G, Cloud and AI (artificial intelligence) in the development of verticals, key industries, businesses and services, sharing best practices, challenges and solutions.
The government leaders from across the Arab world underlined the crucial role of ICT technologies in supporting their states’ ambitious national plans and visions.
The opening keynote was delivered by Catherine Chen, senior vice president, director of the board and president of Public Affairs and Communications Dept, Huawei, who showcased that Huawei firmly believes in working together to create a better future for shared success, and that the company is keen to openly work with more partners to create a digital future of shared prosperity. Participants also included Dr Ahmad Belhoul al-Falasi, the UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Arkan Shahab, Minister of Communications, Iraq; and Sameera Ebrahim bin Rajb, The Special Envoy for Bahrain.
Steven Yi, president for the Middle East at Huawei, said in the Arab region, digital technologies have ushered historical transformation and enabled the Arab leaders to diversify and strengthen economies.
“The ICT technologies are at the core of many Arab states’ national agendas and visions, and we’re honoured to provide an unparalleled platform that inspired collaboration to drive the next phase of socio-economic growth in the Arab world, driven by ICT innovations,” he said.
The day-long event focused on three key themes – digital transformation, ICT for education and talent development, and cybersecurity. The first panel discussion moderated by Toni Eid, chief executive of Trace Media and founder of Telecom Review on “ICT Innovation to Drive Digital Transformation in the Arab World” witnessed esteemed speakers discussing some of the challenges faced in the digital transformation journey, particularly in light of the pandemic influence, and how the ICT industry can contribute towards digitalisation and collaboration for future success.
The panellists included Adel Darwish, regional director of ITU; Dr Ammar Alhusaini, deputy director-general of the Central Agency for Information and Technology, Kuwait; Dr Jassim Haji, president of International Group of Artificial Intelligence; Dr Fahem al-Nuaimi, chief executive of Ankabut, and Ghazi Atallah, chief executive of NXN (neXgen group).
The panel was preluded by a keynote speech by Wang Tao (David Wang), executive director of the board and chairman of ICT Infrastructure managing board. He shed light on how digitalisation inspires economic growth.
To set the stage for the discussions on ICT for education and talent development panel, Tao Zhan, director, Unesco Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) delivered a keynote speech on the importance of public-private sector collaboration in nurturing the ICT talent ecosystem.
This was followed by a presentation on the future of innovation in education in the era of disruptive technology given by Dr Eesa al-Bastaki, president of the University of Dubai, and a keynote speech by Dr Marita Hojeij, professor at USEK University in Lebanon, which highlighted the role of women in technology.
Alongside the event, Huawei also highlighted how it is leveraging cutting-edge capabilities, expertise, and technology to support developers. The tech giant provides workshops, training, and certifications to developers, students, and startup communities. In its annual global competition, the Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP), developers are offered $1mn in cash prizes – with various categories of choice to enter, such as the Best Social Impact App and Excellent Student Award.
These initiatives by Huawei have successfully demonstrated the potential of tech to positively impact communities and the need to empower developers, students, and startups alike. This falls in line with Huawei’s commitment to bringing digital to every person and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.
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