A meeting was held at the headquarters of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the Digital Common Arab Market Project, in presence of Mr. Ali Thunayan Al-Ghanim, President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers, as well as representatives and heads of Arab Chambers and Federations.
In this regard, Dr. Hanafy mentioned that "the Union is currently planning to establish a Digital Arab Market Platform, which will be the first of its kind in the Arab World," adding that "The Project relies on artificial intelligence to connect together business owners and consumers, with the aim of stimulating intra-Arab trade, and enhancing the role played by Arab business owners running SMEs and giving greater space for entrepreneurs and the Arab Youth by providing job opportunities and helping in reducing costs."
He added, “the Digital Platform will link together 16 Arab Joint-Chambers covered under the umbrella of the Union of Arab Chambers, as well as 16 Arab and Foreign Joint Chambers.” He recalled that trade among Arab countries only make up to 13% of total trade, including 3% in the non-oil sector, a very weak ratio, that needs to be pushed forward, thus the urgent need to implement such a project, to be in line with the Digital era and the concept of e-commerce, that will act as the cornerstone of the Arab economy.
He pointed out that the funding procedure will be carried out by various parties within the Arab region that need to comprehend and develop well the concept, holding that the Union is currently under the participants’ identification stage for funding within the financial framework, noting that the initial cost of the project lies within the range of $6 million, and taking into account that part of the project will be funded by some Financial Arab Chambers and Institutions.
The digital project was brought up for the first time within the framework of the next four-years plan of the Union of Arab Chambers, a plan that helps keep abreast of modern developments and digital communication, the main part being digital orientation, as the whole world is following this digitization trend.
The Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) hosted this meeting in order to discuss the Digital Arab Market project that UAC aspires to establish as an e-Arab Market platform, achieving this way the Arab dream of unity, from the ocean to the Gulf, not only by board, but by e-commerce.
"We are at a critical stage, where as we are interacting more closely with the digital world, we are becoming one, hardly to differentiate anymore from the real world. There are countries that have made tremendous progress in this regard, especially the Gulf countries, and other countries that are trying to follow like Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco. Digital transformation has proven to achieve efficiency and speed at work and is now the best use of information technology."
Dr. Hanafy, also mentioned that "the proportion of use of ICT by SMEs in the Arab region does not exceed 8 percent, because of the lack of implementation of applications programs and electronic platforms to achieve digital interaction. Therefore, we must create comprehensive platforms and applications so we can strengthen the economy and preserve our wealth."
Source: (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, edited)