Policy Dialogue: Building inclusive ecosystems in the digital economy in the Arab region
Recent years have seen a vibrant ecosystem of digital businesses emerge across the Arab region. Small digital enterprises have demonstrated their ability to embrace new business models to offer innovative online products and services. This movement has been supported by a relatively tech-savvy young generation.Yet, the development of strong digital ecosystems faces obstacles, from infrastructure and regulatory issues impacting accessibility and affordability, to concerns related to data privacy or consumer protection. The gender digital divide also remains significant, with only 56% of women using the internet in 2020 as compared to 68% of men (ITU, 2021).
As the region grapples with the economic consequences of the pandemic, accelerating digitalization in a more inclusive manner could bring highly needed sources of growth and development.
In this session, top digital entrepreneurs from the Arab region, policymakers and representatives from major international institutions will confront their perspectives on how to support digital entrepreneurship in the Arab region – especially with regards to women and youth – to build a prosperous and inclusive digital economy.
Questions to be discussed:
- How can e-commerce and the digital economy in the Arab world spur economic growth in COVID-19 times? What does it take for them to support a recovery that leaves no one behind?
- What are some of the key obstacles faced by small businesses – especially women-led ones – in the digital economy across the Arab region?
- How can governments and the international community make sure that opportunities are available to digital businesses, including for women and youth?
- How can we best use initiatives such as eTrade for Women to raise the voices of women digital entrepreneurs in this context?
Replay the event:
Setting the scene:
- Ms. Rouba Arja, Social Affairs Officer Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development Cluster, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA)
- Ms. Mona Ataya, Founder and CEO of Mumzworld (UAE), UNCTAD eTrade for Women Advocate for the Arab region
- Mr. Hadhri Khabbab, Director, Digital Economy and e-Commerce Development, Ministry of Trade, Tunisia
- Mr. Bassam Salim, Director-General, Iraqi Post, Head of the Board of Commissioners, Communication and Media Commission, Iraq
- Ms. Abeer Shakweer, Assistant Resident Representative UNDP Egypt.
- Ms. Maya Gebeily, Middle East Correspondent, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
This event will be accessible in English and Arabic
This session is part of the eTrade for Women Masterclass for the Arab region organized on 29-31 March 2022. It is organized by UNCTAD in partnership with UNDP and UN ESCWA.