13 November 2013

Tunisia: Regional Shining Hub for ICTs - Ali Larayedh

Hammamet — Prime Minister Ali Larayedh reiterated will to make of Tunisia a regional shining hub for information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the 2014/2018 period.

Opening works of the International ICT4ALL 2013 Forum organised, November 13-14 in Hammamet, Larayedh highlighted the national strategy for ICTs' development devised by the ministry, in collaboration with the various stakeholders of the public and private sectors and the civil society, aims to achieve this objective.

The strategy aims to consolidate the telecommunication and information basic infrastructure, generalise e-administration and reinforce Tunisia's position as a regional hub in matters of outsourcing services.

The prime minister announced that the competent authorities are endeavouring to introduce plans of fiber-optic networks within urban development plans, as water and electricity networks, which will help local authorities invest in this sector.

Larayedh laid emphasis on the need to provide a rich digital content, establish digital confidence, respect of personal data, the right of access to information and reinforcement of connection networks.

The Prime Minister stressed the need to assess the progress made in the development of the information and knowledge society (recommendations of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS)/Geneva 2003 and Tunisia 2005 phases), review African and Arab experiences and make fresh recommendations for the upcoming events.

Ali Larayedh inaugurated, on this occasion, an exhibition featuring innovating business applications and solutions held as part of the Forum.

Speaking at the Forum's opening session, representatives of international, regional and national institutions highlighted the need to develop the ICT sector to boost the economy and ensure a comprehensive and sustainable development.

Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao said it is important for Tunisia, which is going through a critical period, to organise this meeting designed to assess the progress made in narrowing the digital divide and implementing the recommendations of the "Tunis Agenda."

The official renewed ITU's willingness to continue supporting the country's efforts to establish a developed telecommunication infrastructure and increase the contribution of the ICT sector to development.

President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) Wided Bouchamaoui called on participants in the forum and Tunisia's partners to remain confident in the country's ability to overcome the difficulties resulting from a cyclical crisis.

She urged participants to support Tunisia's efforts to enshrine democracy, transparency, integrity and fair development.

Algerian Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technology Zahra Dardouri said the participation of Algeria as chief guest reflects the distinguished and strategic nature of the relations between the two countries.

She reiterated Algeria's willingness to strengthen co-operation with Tunisia, particularly in the area of ICT.

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