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Published: 29 April 2014

Workshop on the digital Arabic content industry and launching the “Thinking digital? Let’s innovate in Arabic!” competition in the United Arab Emirates


The digital Arabic content (DAC) competition in the United Arab Emirates was launched on 10 April 2014 within the scope of cooperation between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and Abu Dhabi University (ADU) and in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The workshop was hosted at the Abu Dhabi Chamber and was attended by over 50 participants representing the academic sector, fund agencies, companies involved in DAC development, as well as young entrepreneurs and university students.

The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Aly Nazmy, Interim Provost of ADU, who welcomed the initiative and the collaboration with ESCWA for promoting the DAC industry in the UAE and the Arab region. He explained that the purpose of the workshop is to raise awareness on the importance of DAC and promote the industry by encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurs in this domain. The inauguration was followed by a speech from Mr. Helal Mohammed Al Hameli, Deputy Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Al Hameli highlighted the importance of the DAC industry and reflected the gap between the Arabic language and other languages online while acknowledging the opportunities it has for the Arab region.

Dr. Nibal Idlebi, Chief of the ICT Applications section at ESCWA, delivered a presentation on the importance and challenges of the DAC industry. She explained the opportunities that this industry holds with regards to facing the high unemployment rates in the Arab region and strengthening the private sectors through the establishment of start-ups and SMEs in DAC development. Dr. Idlebi discussed ESCWA’s activities in this area since 2003; she then overviewed the results of ESCWA’s study entitled “Status of the digital Arabic content industry in the Arab region”. Mr Gabriel Deek, a seasoned ICT business expert, delivered a lively presentation on business models for DAC start-ups in the region. He supported his talk with numerous examples of successful content companies from the region and globally. Ms. Hania Sabbidin Dimassi then delivered a presentation to announce the competition and explain the conditions, selection criteria, and timeline.

Ms. Rima Shaban, Manager of the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre – ADU Enterprise”, explained the services that the centre offers to students and entrepreneurs. She described the package that will be provided to the winner of the DAC competition. Mr. Mohammad Al Shamsi, Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund, delivered a presentation on the Fund’s projects and objectives. A series of presentations then followed by entrepreneurs and other institutions in the UAE on their experiences in DAC development. The presenters came from Taghreedat, which is also ESCWA’s partner in the project, Votek for voice recognition, and Emirates content..

It should be mentioned that the DAC Competition in the UAE targets university graduates and young entrepreneurs with innovative DAC ideas whether products, e-services or mobile applications. The door for applying is now open for interested applicants and the application form is available online at the following URL: Valid applications will be contacted by Abu Dhabi University to fill the complete application form.

For further information on ESCWA’s DAC initiative, please visit the following URL:


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