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Digital Transformation Key to Enhancing Economic and Social Growth in the Arab World

The seminar titled "Smart Cities in the Arab World and Digital Transformation" hosted by the Basil Fuleihan Institute of Finance in Beirut, highlighted significant advancements in the Arab world. These developments are pivotal for social and economic growth and have brought transformative changes to citizens' daily lives.

The seminar featured various diplomats, Members of Parliament, and academics. Dr. Lamia Moubayed Bissat, President of the Basil Fuleihan Institute of Finance (IoF), delivered the opening speech, followed by Ghassan Zeenny, Financial and Administrative Director at IoF. Dr. Nidal Abou Zaki, Managing Director of Orient Planet Group, emphasized the importance of smart technologies and digital transformation in ensuring societal prosperity, enhancing service efficiency, and fostering sustainability in Arab cities.

Dr. Abou Zaki stated, "Smart cities integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance citizens’ lives, providing high-quality services through automation and ensuring continuous service accessibility. The development of smart cities aims to improve social well-being and achieve sustainable development."

He highlighted the role of smart cities in promoting economic growth by creating career opportunities in software development, infrastructure maintenance, and data management. He emphasized the need for skill development to ensure the workforce can adapt to market demands.

The seminar also discussed the impact of digital transformation on education and remote work, offering integrated digital learning environments and streamlined remote working solutions. Dr. Abou Zaki noted that smart cities promote lifelong learning and increase educational opportunities.

He pointed out that several Arab countries, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, the New Administrative Capital in Egypt, and Rabat, are leading in smart city development. These cities are beacons of innovation and excellence in the Arab world.

Dr. Abou Zaki also highlighted India's and Singapore's paths toward digital transformation, emphasizing their robust digital infrastructures, skill development priorities, and supportive environments for tech start-ups.

In Lebanon, he underlined the significance of digital transformation in improving citizens’ quality of life and driving economic growth. He emphasized the need for open government e-services, increased digital infrastructure investments, and strategic public-private partnerships.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Abou Zaki stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, private entities, and civil society to achieve smart city visions. "Comprehensive and integrated strategies are essential for propelling digital transformation and developing advanced technological infrastructure in our cities," he said.

Ghassan Zeenny added, "Digital transformation plays a crucial role in driving sustainable growth. Utilizing emerging technologies and advanced data analysis maximizes resource efficiency and delivers top-notch services that foster economic growth and environmental sustainability."

The Basil Fuleihan Institute of Finance continues to organize training sessions, workshops, and seminars to empower individuals with insights into digital transformation, accelerating the transition to digital business models and enhancing service quality for citizens.

Dr. Abou Zaki recently published his book, "Smart Cities in the Arab World and Their Economic and Social Impacts," which explores the future of smart cities in the Arab world, showcasing significant examples, technologies, and ambitious initiatives aimed at advancing the smart city concept.

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