The use of Internet in the Arab Region: Prospects and the Future

16 November 2009 - A Best Practice Forum on Access in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


The Objective of this workshop is to debate about the usage of Internet in the Arab region and to what extents it is contributing effectively in integrating the Arab Internet user in the digital age.
The scope of this workshop will cover access to Internet in the Arab region from three angles. It will discuss the case study of Egypt highlighting the role of the government in enhancing the use of internet as a tool of development, the state vision and the initiatives in place.
The workshop will also give an insight of the facts and numbers about Internet users in the region and how the private sector is involved in promoting access.
The other topic this workshop will be tackling is the role of Internet in research. It will explore how the Internet is used in universities and research centers both under the access aspect and the application aspect. The majority of the universities and research centers are offered access, and are participating in international research networks but the level and quality of usage vary significantly. It would be important to know how researchers and students are benefiting from the usage of Internet.
Finally, the workshop will deliver critical analysis of Internet usage in the Arab region, the current situation and how it can be used lucratively. It will also describe the role of civil society and give a synopsis about Diplo’s focus on capacity development challenges and community building of policy makers in Arab region.
This workshop will merge with “ Arabic Content Development: Challenges and Solutions” workshop which will try to shed light on the issues and challenges inhibiting the growth and development of Arabic content, and introduce King Abdullah’s Initiative for Arabic content as an effort to address some of these issues.


This workshop combines the expertise of partners representing various stakeholders namely including civil society and International organization represented by IDRC, DiploFoundation, and Kind Abdulla initiative for Arabic content, Government of Egypt and the private sector represented by the Arab Advisory Group. It is also possible to invite academia to participate in this workshop I have to two requests on presenting a showcase presentation based on a survey illustrating the use of Internet in the Arab region. Since it is a topic which very specific to the MENA region, it's important to invite speakers who have specific expertise in the region however geographical representation is still respected since most regions are represented.


Access has been one of the cross cutting themes at the IGF but it was always discussed from the technical scope. Since the main theme of IGF 2009 is Internet Governance: creating opportunity for all, this workshop will bring to the surface one of the main issues the MENA region is facing regarding the extent to which Internet is been used as tool to guarantee sustainable human and economic development. It will also raise the issues and challenges related to developing content in Arabic and illustrate the regional initiatives.