Promoting the Digital Arabic Content Industry Through Technology Incubators - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
1-2 October 2012
Expert Group Meeting

Promoting the Digital Arabic Content Industry Through Technology Incubators

  • Amman

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become one of the key enablers of socioeconomic development. The Internet is considered to be the most comprehensive repository of knowledge and a resource providing communities with various tools to improve the general quality of life. The digital divide, however, remains a major impediment hindering access of communities in the Arab region to the value that the Internet has to provide. The Arab region has witnessed a growing interest in Digital Arabic Content (DAC) in the past few years. Initiatives, projects and programs have been launched by governments, the private sector and civil society aiming to bridge the language gap which in turn supports bridging the gap in digital content.

ESCWA has been involved in the DAC domain since 2003 through implementing a range of activities, most notably a project dedicated to promoting the DAC industry by supporting the establishment of start-up and small companies at ICT business incubators. This project, which ended in 2010, was highly commended by all stakeholders involved including young entrepreneurs, partner business incubators, and experts.

ESCWA thus launched a new initiative that will target a more diverse range of national and regional partnerships in addition to the development of studies on new business models for companies operating in the development of digital content and the status of the DAC industry in the region. The initiative also includes  awareness campaigns about the importance of the DAC industry and organizing DAC competitions at the national and regional levels to select the best applications. Winners of the competitions will receive an incubation period of 6 to 12 months in one of the business incubators in the region. ESCWA hopes that the incubation period will help establish small or start-up companies working in the DAC field.

In this context, ESCWA organized an Expert Meeting on ESCWA Initiative for Promoting the Digital Arabic Content Industry through Technology Incubators on 1 and 2 October 2012, which was hosted by the Royal Scientific Society in Amman. The meeting’s objective was to deliberate the various modalities of collaboration with potential partners, particularly the ICT ministries and authorities, funds and donor agencies interested in innovations, ICT business incubators, and international and regional organizations interested in DAC.

The meeting highlighted the principles that ESCWA will adopt while implementing the initiative; namely, (1) partnering with various stakeholders involved in the DAC industry such as government agencies, technology incubators, and innovation support institutions, (2) focusing on new technology trends such as smart phone applications, and (3) customizing the initiatives to match national DAC priorities.

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