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Saudi Arabia, UAE responded well to coronavirus internet challenges says World Bank

Saudi Arabia, UAE Responded Well to Coronavirus Internet Challenges: World Bank

WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Arab countries responded well to the Internet and broadband challenges brought about by the new coronavirus, according to a World Bank blog post.
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, demand for broadband data and services increased significantly due to the pandemic, according to the World Bank.
COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption, and as more moves to work from home and seeks to limit face-to-face interaction, digital connectivity has become a lifesaver for keeping in touch with family and friends, working and completing tasks.
“In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the government has managed to ensure continued access to various e-government services thanks to its continued investment in modern digital infrastructure and digital government platforms for the past two decades,” reads the World Bank report of Boutheina Guermazi, director of digital development.
The Kingdom has also developed e-learning platforms, and the national educational portal Ain has become the main education channel for more than 6 million users.
The portal has provided 30,000 devices to needy students and more than 100,000 hours of interactive digital learning for undergraduates, the World Bank said.
Elsewhere in the region, the Egyptian government and the Palestinian people have also taken steps to ensure that education continues under lockdown.
In the UAE and Oman, governments have unlocked some Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services that allow people to make low-cost calls through applications, rather than relying on telecommunications companies.
In Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Palestine, governments have made payments for Internet services more flexible or have increased Internet speed for subscribers.
Guermazi identified several bottlenecks in the sector, including the inability of some telecommunications operators to continue business operations, as employees had to be physically present, disruption of world trade, increased theft, and vandalism of equipment. Communications and the increase in cyber-attacks and fake news.
“With countries transitioning to recovery and reopening slowly and cautiously, and as economic activity picks up again, MENA countries should work to increase the capacity of broadband connections, manage network congestion, ensure the continuity of vital public services and improve digital financial technologies,” she wrote.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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