Muscat: Oman’s place in the backbone of global trade, its ability to become a global centre for data exchange, strong digital capabilities and infrastructure, a technically capable young society, and submarine cables that enable high-speed digital exchange have all contributed to Muscat being named the Arab Digital Capital for 2022.
Saeed bin Hamoud Al Maawali, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, added that these qualities have been enhanced by modern logistics services, developed highways, and globally connected ports and airports, modern transportation and warehouses, and free zones, which enhance opportunities to attract investments to Oman.
“Muscat’s victory as the Arab Digital Capital for 2022 reflects the confidence of Arab countries in the digital and legislative capabilities that the Sultanate of Oman enjoys in the ICT sector,” he added.
“The latest of these was the Cabinet’s adoption of the National Digital Economy Programme, which aims to contribute to the digital economy and expand the national economy.”
The decision to award Muscat the title came during the 25th session of the Council of Arab Ministers of Communications and Information Technology, which was held virtually.
Oman’s aspiration is to put its digital footprint on the Arab world, as the country’s candidacy for the title came under the slogan “A digital future that creates opportunities” - consistent with the directions of the Oman Vision 2040.
Oman’s candidacy identified three important fields in the digital space, namely cyber security, digital innovation and digital capabilities. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology aims to develop digital talent and skills in the Arab world, enrich Arab digital content, enhance cooperation in cybersecurity, and encourage investment in the digital economy.
“The Governorate of Muscat is leading the country’s digital transformation process and adopts advanced technologies that enhance economic and social growth, empowers all other sectors, and attracts local, regional and international investments, in addition to enabling digital integration among Arab countries,” said Al Maawali.
Adding to this, Sayyid Saud bin Hilal Al Busaidi, the Minister of State and Governor of Muscat, explained that Muscat being named 2022’s Arab Digital Capital will go a long way in helping the city’s efforts towards digital transformation, helps create smart and integrated technical systems that stimulate digital creativity, and develop capabilities and knowledge skills. All of these are important elements of Vision 2040.
“This will help consolidate partnerships between the parties of common interests, including institutions, bodies and individuals, to work together to achieve the sustainable development goals of the country,” added Al Busaidi. “The Muscat Governor’s Office seeks, with this hosting, to make the programmes and objectives of the digital capital homogeneous with the axes the four aspects of our strategy for excellence.”
“These include: sustainable environment, corporate governance, economic development, society, and the trend towards embodying the hoped-for digital reality that will be reflected in the various details of the daily lives of individuals and organisations,” he added.
Choosing Muscat is also an indication of the existing technical and digital capabilities and elements, with the capital presenting an ideal environment to attract promising investments in the fields of technology and communications.
Oman’s delegation to the 25th meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers of Communications and Information Technology was led by Dr Ali bin Amer Al Shidhani, the Undersecretary for Communications and Information Technology at MTCIT, alongside Omar bin Hamdan Al Ismaili, the CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and a number of other representatives. Arab Digital Capitals are chosen annually to present and incubate various successful initiatives and concepts in the digital space, with the selected city launching many local and regional impact initiatives.
Digital capitals are also named on the basis of the proposals put forward by the countries that wish to nominate their cities: Riyadh was named the first digital capital of the Arab World in 2020, while Cairo was named last year.
Source: Times of Oman