Digital Arabic content (DAC) fosters linguistic and cultural diversity of the Arab region on the internet, improves access to and benefit from the internet, and preserves Arabic cultural and historical archives in digital form.
DAC also contributes to sustainable socioeconomic development, and supports the creation of job opportunities and startups.
ESCWA is supporting various stakeholders in promoting the DAC industry in the region. ESCWA has proposed policies and strategic actions to enhance the enabling environment for the DAC industry, and suggested mechanisms and practical approaches for the private sector, non-governmental organizations and entrepreneurs. ESCWA also provided an estimation of the market size of the DAC industry, and collected the most relevant business models for this industry.
ESCWA objectives are in line with the goals of the World Summit on the Information Society to bridge digital gaps, including digital content gap. They are also in line with the 2030 Agenda, specifically SDG17.
- Development of policy and strategy for digital Arabic content in the Arab region, 2003-2007
- Promoting digital Arabic content and innovation through incubation, 2007-2015.
- Supporting DAC initiatives in the Arab region, 2013-2021, especially through the Arab Forum for Digital Arabic Content.
ESCWA partners for organizing the Arab Forum for Digital Arabic Content:
League of Arab States
Arab Information and Communication Technology Organization (AICTO)
International Telecommunication Union- Arab Regional Office (ITU-ARO)
Arab League of Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO)
Ministries of communication and technology in Arab countries, especially in Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
Since 2003, activities have included studies, expert meetings, workshops, regional conferences, and partnerships. The studies have touched on policy aspects, technical matters, surveys, and business aspects.
- In 2021, ESCWA is partnering with the World Summit Awards (WSA) to launch the Digital Arab Content Awards to recognize efforts to develop digital Arabic content for sustainable development in the Arab region, at the 2021 Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD). The annual award will target institutions and young entrepreneurs from all Arab countries, highlight the benefits of digital technologies for advancing sustainable development and promote the creation of quality content related to the Sustainable Development Goals.
- ESCWA co-hosts the Digital Arabic Content Forum, which was held in Egypt in 2013 and 2014, the United Arab Emirates in 2015, and in Qatar in 2020.
- ESCWA collaborated with business incubators and universities in several Arab countries to organize awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of DAC, and launch innovative competitions aimed at entrepreneurs aspiring to establish DAC companies. The national competitions were launched in two rounds: the first in 2008 and second in 2013 under the title "Thinking digital? Let’s innovate in Arabic!", and covered the following countries: Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.