RIPE NCC and CITRA holds high-level discussions covering opportunities and challenges in the Arab Internet Sector

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  • Event looked at key issues in development of Internet infrastructure across Arab countries
  • High-level meeting sees participation of Arab ICT Ministers and Head of Regulators

The RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), in collaboration with the Communications and Information Technology Authority in Kuwait (CITRA), successfully organized the 4th edition of the RIPE NCC Government Roundtable dedicated to Arab ICT Ministries and regulators in the Middle East region on Tuesday 15 December, which was held virtually under the theme, “Cooperation for better connectivity”. The event was attended by high level representatives from several Arab countries, including ministers and regulators. 

The meeting, which was opened by H.E. Saleem Al-Ozianah, Chairman and CEO of CITRA, H.E. Hamad Almansoori, Chief of Digital Government and General Manager of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in the United Arab Emirates, H.E Dr. Mohamad Tamimi, Governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hans Petter Holen, Managing Director of RIPE NCC and Christian Kaufmann, Executive Board Chairman of RIPE NCC, discussed keyways and collaborations to drive in more development and economic growth for the Arab region’s Internet sector. During the event, participants discussed the current opportunities and challenges posed by the management of Internet resources and infrastructure in the Middle East – especially during emergencies such as COVID-19. They also discussed how to adopt a more collaborative approach with governments and regulators and looked at the latest RIPE NCC statistics and figures.

In his opening speech, H.E. Saleem Al-Ozianah, Chairman and CEO of CITRA, stressed the significance of such high level discussions and dialogues and pointed out the importance of hosting such a quality-focused event in Kuwait, which reflects CITRA efforts towards enhancing the Internet in line with Kuwait’s government commitment for digital transformation, which is the foundation of the “New Kuwait 2035” development strategy. 

HE Al-Ozianah added: “Innovative regulations and technical collaborations are needed to respond to the changing landscape caused by the global pandemic and address the urgent need for affordable and secure access and better use of Internet and its digital services. We recommend the RIPE NCC for its tireless efforts to support our country and the region. No matter how much we can do by ourselves on a national level, it is never enough; we need regional and international cooperation”.

H.E. Hamad Almansoori, Chief of Digital Government, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in the United Arab Emirates, pointed out “Regional and international cooperation has never been as necessary and urgent as it is now. We are witnessing a turning point in the history of ICT. The whole world is facing the same risks from the pandemic and has the same hopes for returning to normalcy. Therefore, RIPE NCC represents an important framework for working together for common goals by having better Internet infrastructure to accelerate the assimilation and application of the concepts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which until yesterday seemed futuristic, but are in fact, a part of our current life.”

H.E Dr. Mohamad Tamimi, Governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, highlighted the importance of collaboration: “ The importance of the continuous collaboration and cooperation between the RIPE NCC and the regulators in the region is evident through such constructive meetings that aim to discuss the organizational and technical challenges of managing Internet number resources and building the related digital capabilities; thus promoting the smooth growth of the Internet and the stability of its services for the benefit of our countries and the world at large.”

Hans Petter Holen, Managing Director of RIPE NCC, announced the publication of the “RIPE NCC Internet Country Report: Gulf Region”, which examines challenges, growth and trends of Internet routing and infrastructure in eight Arab countries including Kuwait. He stated: “Over the years, the RIPE NCC has remained steadfast in its commitment to work closely with various governments and provide them with the necessary training and knowledge to address today’s digital challenges. We recommend the work that CITRA is doing and look forward to continuing our work together to harness the Internet for the greater good and for everyone”.

Christian Kaufmann, Chair of RIPE NCC Executive Board said: “This Roundtable Meeting is very important for us to share information and updates but also to understand the needs of governments and regulators in the region and how to support them. I also want to stress out the importance of the RIPE NCC Dubai office to facilitate technical support and capacity building in the region. He added: “It is one of our fundamental goals to connect people, therefore we take sanctions in the region very serious as a Board, and these issues have our full attention and support.”

The first panel discussion of this virtual roundtable, which was titled “The RIPE NCC and Arab Governments Cooperation” was led by Chafic Chaya and Hisham Ibrahim from the RIPE NCC. It discussed the collaboration of RIPE NCC with Arab governments and regulators investigated the status of the Internet infrastructure in the Arab countries. 

The second panel discussion was led by Chris Buckridge and Marco Hogewoning from the RIPE NCC, which tackled the topic of Internet Governance: Regulations to Support Technology and highlighted the importance of Digital Cooperation, Government Engagement, and Internet Regulations that Support Technology.

The meeting was attended by H.E. Loutfi Bashareef, Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunications of Yemen; H.E. Ahmad Al-Hananda, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in Jordan; H.E. Dr. Ishaq Sidr Minister of Information & Communications Technology in Palestine; H.E. Dr. Ali Nasser Al-Khoieldi, CEO of the Communications and Media Commission in Iraq, Mirjam Kühne the RIPE Chair and Niall O’Reilly  the RIPE Vice Chair, in addition to high level delegations and representatives from Governments and Regulatory Authorities from kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt.

The roundtable event served as a successful follow-up to the previous year’s events held in the region. The RIPE NCC and CITRA have expressed their commitments to continuously support the development of Internet infrastructure in the region through their joint-initiatives and efforts. The RIPE NCC endeavors to maintain stable and resilient Internet connectivity through its provision of IP address registration, maintaining key infrastructure, and contributing to the security of Internet routing. The online event falls in line with the RIPE NCC’s strategy to support governments with the needed technical expertise to serve their wider Internet community. 

About CITRA:

The Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA)​ was established in 2014 and is responsible for overseeing the telecommunications sector, monitor and protect the interests of users and service providers and regulate the services of telecommunication networks in the country, while ensuring transparency, equality of opportunity and fair competition.

About RIPE NCC:

The RIPE NCC is an independent, not-for-profit membership organization that supports the infrastructure of the Internet through technical coordination in Europe, Middle East and parts of Central Asia. The most prominent activity of the RIPE NCC is to act as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) providing global Internet resources and related services (IPv4, IPv6 and AS Numbers) to members in the RIPE NCC service region. The RIPE NCC also provides services for the benefit of the Internet community at large. The RIPE NCC operates from its main office in Amsterdam and from its regional office in Dubai.