GCC social media summit reveals top goals
Dubai, September 3, 2013
The second annual GCC Government Social Media Summit began on Monday in Dubai, and featured several thoughtful perspectives on the future of social media in the GCC.
The social media event opened with a keynote speech by the director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Mohamed Al Ghanim.
Summit chairman, Fadi Salem, director Governance & Innovation, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, delivered a keynote address on The Impact of Social Media in the Arab Region.
“It has become imperative for us to direct our policies towards a more mobile-centred approach, to make the essentials of people’s lives more accessible, more convenient,” said Salem.
Driving mGovernment and Smart Government via Social Networks to Enhance Government Communications was held by Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, deputy director general for Information and eGovernment Sector at the TRA.
“We have positioned ourselves to be fully social and mobile by the end of 2015, across all government-related sectors and departments, and we are confident that this would lead to a better understanding of the needs of our people on a real-time basis,” he said.
As of early 2013, the UAE is a world leader in smartphone penetration, at 73.8 per cent. Saudi Arabia comes in third, at 72.8 per cent. While other GCC nations do not make the top 15, that’s still an increasingly large number of people who are ‘connected’: three out of four, in the two most populous countries in the GCC (the UAE and Saudi Arabia account for 80 per cent of the GCC population).
“There has never been a more poignant time to speak about government’s relationship with social media,” said Al Ghanim.
“The concerted focus on how government departments can better incorporate social networks into communications strategies is one that officials right across the world are engaged in. The UAE operates right at the cutting edge of this international trend and events such as these are crucial to continuation of this development.
“Both citizens and business in the UAE currently enjoy a state of digital preparedness that is the direct result of our Leadership’s foresight. Recognizing the need for social media’s prominent place in government communications is no longer optional, but a necessity,” he added.
Dr Hassan Dawood, head of Dubai Office for sponsor Alsayegh Media, said: “The history of media has shown us that, today more than ever, people value content above all else: the channels through which content is shared and transmitted can change, but it is content, which is becoming increasingly branded, that ultimately matters.”
“In the UAE specifically, to be more accurate, we have developed a strong infrastructure for a future of leadership in this area, with the government playing a vital role in encouraging us to think big, to aim high, and to really challenge expectations.
“This summit is about, more than anything, working towards a vision for the coming decade that allows us, and our government to become models for other cities and countries,” Dr Dawood added.
The event is concluding today (September 3) at the Ritz Carlton DIFC – TradeArabia News Service