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UAE 'must boost ICT use for economic growth’

Trade Arabia

The UAE, which leads the Arab world for network readiness, must take full advantage of the potential offered by ICT solutions to drive social and economic transformation, according to experts.

Considerable challenge is facing the UAE as it seeks to develop the infrastructure, institutions, and skills needed to reap the full benefits of ICTs, added senior executives from Cisco, a global leader in IT.

Out of 143 countries, the UAE was ranked 23rd, moving up one place in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index in the Global Information Technology Report 2015 (GITR).

Only 39 per cent of the global population enjoys access to the Internet despite the fact that more than half now owns a mobile phone, according to the World Economic Forum.

In the UAE, despite having one of the highest mobile phone subscription rates (171.9 per cent), the lack of access to the Internet is depriving many UAE citizens of the opportunity to take full advantage of e-learning as well as online financial, data, and health services.

Crucial to achieving societal and economic transformation is the ability to embrace the Internet of Everything (IoE), the connections between people, process, data and things to create unprecedented opportunities for the UAE’s citizens, and public and private sectors.

In order to embrace the IoE, the UAE’s government and businesses must be fully digitised, supported by a highly robust and secure network. Becoming digital requires an agile IT model, and the ability to rethink core processes for the digital era, said the WEF report.

The GITR report suggests that investing in infrastructure and education; supporting the development of local content; and creating an enabling environment by promoting competition through sound regulation will correct the imbalance in the UAE. Cisco executives stressed that government can shape policies that will spur development of broadband access.

Rabih Dabboussi, General Manager, Cisco UAE said: “At Cisco, we have learned that technology helps people find innovative solutions to address societal problems. We believe there has never been a better time to combine human ingenuity and technological innovation to improve the lives of all Emirati citizens.”

“As home to the world’s second-fastest employment growth, the wider Middle East is ripe for transformation and is an increasingly attractive environment for global business investments. Technology is at an inflection point and the UAE’s economy needs to prioritise ICT adoption to take full advantage of the benefits that embracing digital transformation strategies will offer.”

Dr Robert Pepper, vice president, Global Technology Policy, Cisco said: “The UAE can make massive strides in connecting more citizens and bringing about positive social and economic change by improving its Networked Readiness.”

“With political will and commitment from the private sector, progress can be made in bringing the benefit of ICTs to more people. We are already facing the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything (IoE) –the UAE needs to prioritise ICT development if it is to benefit from the new experiences and efficiencies that the IoE will bring,” he added.- TradeArabia News Service

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