ICT for Development in Arab Region
Search ICTDAR
ICTDAR Initiatives
Select By Country
ICTDAR Archives
Select By Work Plan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

At the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders put development at the heart of the global agenda by adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set clear targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015:

  •     MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  •     MDG 2: Achieve Universal primary education

  •     MDG 3: Achieve gender equality and empower women

  •     MDG 4: Reduce child mortality

  •     MDG 5: Improve maternal health

  •     MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

  •     MDG 7: Ensure Environmental stability

  •     MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development
 

On the ground in 166 countries, UNDP uses its global network to help the UN system and its partners raise awareness and track progress, while at the same time, connecting countries to the knowledge and resources needed to achieve their development goals.


 

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARAB REGION - ICTDAR

 

According to the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR); active knowledge acquisition and its effective utilization and optimization in building human capital is a key driver to economic growth. “Knowledge has become an essential factor of production, and a basic determinant of productivity. The solid connection between knowledge acquisition and the productive capacity of society translates into the value added production activities (based on knowledge intensity) that are also the mainstay of competitiveness worldwide. Further the formation of the ‘Knowledge Society' refers to this current phase in the evolution of human progress

 

The AHDR progressively outlines the five pillars to creating a “knowledge society” in the Arab Region.

 
  • Unleashing and guaranteeing the key freedoms of opinion, speech, and assembly through good governance.
  • Disseminating high quality education targeted on education outcomes and life long learning.
  • Indigenizing science universalizing research & development (R & D) in societal activities and keeping up with the information age.
  • Shifting rapidly towards knowledge based production.
  • Establishing an authentic, broadminded and enlightened Arab general knowledge model.
 

In order to achieve the strategic vision to becoming a knowledge society, the Arab region needs to open up to the information age. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are vital tools for building a knowledge society while building and sustaining human development. The technology allows individuals to bring together knowledge by harvesting data from other sites and adding value to it by prioritizing, translating and updating. However, ICT should not be perceived as tools of substitution but on the contrary, as a means of enhancing complementarities, diversification and added value.

 

The info-technological revolution, led by advances in ICT, is re-structuring the global social economic equations - shifting from income divide to knowledge divide. The revolution on one hand is spearheading the growth of knowledge societies in developed countries and raised much interest among civil society, markets and the agents of change. On the other hand, more than 850 million people in developing countries are excluded from a wide range of information and knowledge. The poor in developing countries remain much isolated - economically, socially and culturally from the burgeoning information and progress in the arts, science and technology.On the other hand, the global economy investment capital will flow to where the greatest opportunities for reward can be found. These opportunities will be found in those places – cities, countries and regions – where new value creating ideas can be realized.

The greatest humanitarian challenge ahead is to narrow the gap and ultimately eliminate poverty and provide more opportunities of growth. Billions of people still live in poverty as ICT Tools catalyzing social and economic change lie unused and little understood. With the advancement of ICT, knowledge flows and emerges where it gets recognized, enriched and valued. Yet, the transformation led by ICT goes far beyond the power of computers and Internet. It entails the adoption of organizational models that are adequate for taking advantage of that potential. It involves the modernization of both the structures and the forms of operation of every organization in any field of activity. It also implies moving from rigid mass production to flexible networks; from centralized pyramids to decentralized adaptable structures; from people as human resources to people as human capital, from global economy to knowledge economy. On the other hand, Creation of knowledge societies starts with the incubation of knowledge in human minds - a process dependent both on the individual, appropriate and pro-active policies and the external environment.

These are the reasons why; ICTDAR, UNDP's Regional Program, was established in Cairo in October 2003. The objective of ICTDAR was to assist Arab States in harnessing ICT to reduce poverty and improve both public administration performance and private sector hold and expansion. Covering all Arab countries, ICTDAR's key areas of intervention are the result of an extensive dialogue with a large cross-section of stakeholder engaged in the region. ICTDAR main priorities and pillars for progress include: raising awareness, campaigns development and participation, capacity development & strategy implementation, pro-poor growth and employment generation. ICTDAR is “human development” driven through the active use of ICT to build, develop and sustain knowledge acquisition and utilization. Mention all initiatives.


ICTDAR EXECUTION APPROACH

ICTDAR relies on a strategic approach to implementing the ongoing regional projects. ICTDAR realizes the vision of achieving the MDGs and creating a knowledge society in the Arab region. It intervenes at many levels; starting from policy formulation undergoing, project implementation, realization and monitoring of results. The key innovative pillars in ICTDAR's approach are the following:

  • Partnership: ICTDAR was able to develop solid partnership agreements with key members in the private sector whether on the international level, local or national levels, other UNDP sectors and local governments, communities and NGOs who are believed to be aware of the key issues in their surroundings.
  • Quick Wins: identifying a small scope within projects that have the potential to grow rather than starting big and discontinuing in the middle.
  • Rollout and Realization Strategy: ICTDAR formulates a business model and an execution framework implemented as a pilot and is consolidated on the national level and is available for replication in other countries in the region. The ultimate goal is to optimize the efforts incurred, consolidate investments in each initiative and ensure sustainability of all activities.
  • Capitalize on National Expertise: the comparative advantage for Arab countries is its richness and diversity of the human capital. ICTDAR strives to build capacity and develop the local content in each one of its initiatives.
  • Policy Formulation: ICTDAR is actively involved in assisting local communities and governments to become instrumental in making and extending the right policies to implement and consolidate those initiatives projects on a national level.
UNDP