The first annual forum of The Academic Regional Network for IT Policies, held in the AUC, stressed on the importance of focusing on the enhancement of the education role and the utilization of available technology tools especially cloud computing as well as promoting innovation and creating new job opportunities.
Dr Tarek Shawki, Chair of the Specialized Presidential Council for Education & Scientific Research at Egyptian Presidency, stressed – during his speech at the forum – on the importance of developing the education system in general. He stated that this target is one of the priorities of the Council for Education.
Microsoft and School of Business at AUC contributed in establishing this network which aims at supporting scientific research in the field of policies associated with economic growth in Middle East and African countries. This comes in order to keep up with the rapidly growing technology development in the IT filed and maximise its utilization.
Through online live broadcast, researchers, practitioners, consultants as well as policy-makers from Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ivory Coast, KSA, Canada, Hong Kong and Turkey took part in this forum held on the course of two days, June 1st and 2nd of this year. In addition to this, on behalf of the Egyptian government, representatives of the Supreme Council of Universities, representatives of Cairo University also took part. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Fund for Social Development as well as international experts in the areas of development banking sector from Hong Kong and Canada, representatives of many universities and private parties all participated in the forum.
Dr. Karim El Saghir, Dean of School of Business at the AUC, expressed his delight at the first Network forum which enhances the role of the school in providing studies related to developing businesses, promoting innovation and creating job opportunities in the Egyptian society. This will help decision makers in setting a suitable vision to utilise modern technologies.
Eng. Mahmoud Khatib, Government Sector Manager at Microsoft, showcased Microsoft’s vision to support the scientific research community in different countries. This vision focuses on briefing the research community with the latest technological developments, especially cloud computing, and the huge capabilities it provides in all fields, as well as experiences of other countries to benefit from them effectively.
The forum tackled many issues starting with the cloud computing definition and opportunities it provides in promoting growth and innovation to the challenges which prevent its deployment in the region as well as means of overcoming this matter. The application of cloud computing and its accompanying policies in different sectors such as, small and medium industries, education, health, transportation and the banking sector were also among issues discussed at the forum.
Researches which were presented clarified the importance of the use of cloud computing to change the concept of providing services, managing work systems and what follows regarding the existence of policies which encourage its use, while maintaining privacy of data and national security requirements.
Heba Ramzy, Director of Corporate Affairs in the Middle East And Africa at Microsoft, stressed on the importance of regional cooperation in the implementation of joint projects. This is considered the main goal of establishing this network which is to identify problems facing the use of cloud computing, means of addressing the problems as well as unifying the vision regarding its regulating policies on the level of the region.
Dr Ashraf Abd El Wahab, Corporate Affairs Manager, Egypt and Gulf at Microsoft, stressed on the importance of the participation of the government and parties in the forum, in order to take a closer look at the uses of advanced technologies in countries of the region. As well as the policies pursued to accelerate economic growth and reducing any risks related to the confidentiality or privacy of the data. This will lead to better delivery of services and fast decision-making based on accurate and current data.
During the closing speech at the forum, Dr Nizar Becheikh, Vice Dean of the School of Business at the AUC, explained the method of building the network in terms of the implementation of the virtual platform for interaction between researchers and decision-makers and participation in research projects of mutual interest at the regional level. He also stressed on the importance of building sustained and solid relations between researchers, practitioners and policy makers in order to reach the research results that are useful and relevant to reality.
Dr Maha Mourad, Chairperson of the organising committee of the forum and Professor of Marketing at the School of Business at the AUC, commended the successful organisation of the forum. She also thanked El-Khazindar Business Research and Case Center for its effective participation in the organisation of this forum. She stated that this forum represented a great opportunity for communication between researchers to take part in promising projects in the Middle East and Africa.
It is worth mentioning that two of the projects, which represented their results during the forum, were awarded this year funding grants from the network in Egypt in the fields of education and transportation. These projects emphasized the need to set policies which encourage the use of cloud computing in these fields.