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This article was published on March 29, 2010

ArabNet 2010: What You Missed

ArabNet 2010: What You Missed
Fawzi Rahal
Story by

Fawzi Rahal

Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. Yo Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. You can reach Fawzi at [email protected].

ArabNetIn case you were on a different timezone, busy, or even just lazy, we know you’ve missed a couple of things – apart from the stripping that took place in the social media panel! (Apologies, gulf people, photo is on Flickr!)

We’ve summed up all the notable quotes from the speakers below:

There are many difficulties facing many young Arabs, but they can put forward new ideas and turn them into companies worth millions of dollars. What matters is building long term companies which will bring success in the future since money and profit are not a priority. I invite all participants and young people to take the step into building companies and seeking education assuring to them that money will come in the end. The educational system needs a mixture of both private and public sector so that youngsters can take the benefit of the best and in the end he asked: “Why invest everywhere except in our youngsters?”

Fadi Ghandour,
Founder and Chairman, Aramex

Even though each Arabic country has a special and different system, foreign investors look at the Arab world as one Market, because the Arabic market is a leader in the growth of consumers’ network, and we are capable of building projects worth millions of dollars in the Arab world. A healthy environment for entrepreneurs requires financial liquidity, more companies in addition to more flexibility from investors.

Samih Toukan,
CEO, Jabbar Group, Founder and former CEO,

Welcome to the Jordanian public who marks its presence with the large numbers of attendees. It is time for all of us to “produce Arabic content”. Google and Yahoo must and will invest in companies which have Arabic productions especially written ones. Ideas are important for innovation and development. Those who have ideas should look for mentoring to pursue their projects and accomplish their business plan. Institutions should complete each other, not terminate each other.

Maher Kaddoura,
Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group

Middle East is for Google a great place to be now. Our mission in is to encourage youth to innovate and to get online to trials their new ideas. Lebanon is one of the most innovative countries in the region. […] Now the Arab world has to focus on pushing Arabic content online. We expect from the region to increase Arabic online platforms dedicated to customers, through more commercial ways. MENA region needs to address online customers through advices platforms and online communities’ exchanges. […] I think that conference was a success and I will be waiting for ArabNet 2011!

Abdelkarim Mardini,
Product Manager MENA, Google

There’s also Google Wave…

Fawzi Rahal,
Regional Communications Director, G2 and Editor, The Next Web Middle East

…Google what?!

Ghassan Haddad,
Director of Internationalization, Facebook

Social Media is the change. It is clearly the future. Social Media works differently from Social Networks; which are more like platforms which allows sharing and exchange between communities.

Patrick Atallah,
Head of France and Italy, 90:10 Group

25% of the MENA region users use Facebook in Arabic.

Ghassan Haddad,
Director of Internationalization, Facebook

It is the right time to invest in e-business in the Arab world. There are a lot of opportunities. The revenue of online advertising is increasing now. Our culture is changing. A company can now grow much quicker with an online advertising business model. When was launched, it was not the time for using this kind of online marketing, now e-marketing is the key of success for entrepreneurs. Foreign investors are looking forward to cooperate and deal with companies who are present in reality and not just present in theory. College students should think of individual projects and not just seek to be hired in global companies.

Rabea Ataya,

We can be global; we can do our own only success story like in the West or in Asia. We will do it differently, in our own way

Rani Saad,
co-founder and managing director, Middle East Venture Partners is for Microsoft the opportunity to meet regional innovators. […] This gathering conference is the first important one of its kind in the region, which brings together ICTs Arab world entrepreneurs. […] We have just started the work here in Lebanon. The e-business explosion is coming but we are still waiting for broadband improvement and dedicated infrastructures.

Leila Serhan,
Country Manager, Microsoft

We don’t need to “arabize” foreign content, we need to create in the region our own Arabic content; a content that fits our culture, the information we want to have and an unbiased one. […] Advertising on mobile applications is a much targeted one because you can know everything about the people. Therefore advertisement is done in an efficient way. You can’t have all those information and characteristics when you do offline campaigns, thus they can’t be as much targeted. That’s what makes mobile applications powerful and impactful.”

Abdul Malek Al Jaber,
Chief Executive Officer, Zain

Facebook is for old people meeting old friends, Netlog is for young people meeting new friends

Timothy Bataillie,
Business Development Turkey/MENA/Eastern-Europe, Netlog

Developers can’t think anymore of one platform only. They have to think globally. There are platforms that are more efficient for business; ones more efficient for socializing… therefore all have to be taken into account.

Gian Luca Cioletti,
Head of Business Development, EMEA, Forum Nokia

The region is at the time now of exploding. We need to do a better job in order to increase the growth of the Arabic content over the Internet. 1% is not acceptable. Content is a very fundamental issue and should be accessible to all. It is so important, that it is one of the main reasons for Yahoo! to have acquired Maktoob. With the acquisition of Maktoob, Yahoo! looks at its assets and seeks how to use them in Arabic. We are also working on building local services that are relevant to the region.

Andy Abbar,
Sr. Director of Product and Product Marketing Management, Yahoo! Middle East

Advertising is very important, because it allows us to support our structure that produce content, we must not forget that content generated by users is very important and essential, and not only it do bring information but also it contributes to the growth of the Arabic content on the Internet

Mohammad Aloqeely,
Director General of IT, Saudi Food and Drugs Authority

We need to have more structured content in Arabic and content that can be better optimized on search engine. […] Advertising is one of the main revenue, but advertisers are not mature enough to see the boom of Internet and the great opportunities that offer portals.

Wael Ghonim,
Head of Marketing MENA, Google

Ministry is trying to meet the demands of primary and secondary education teachers, after they officially went on strike Tuesday. […] The ministry is doing everything in its power to follow up on the demands. […] Changing the status of instructors at the Lebanese University from part timers to full timers has been a long-standing issue; it is time to find an enduring solution to the problem. […] One thing I noticed @ #ArabNetMe: Lebanese and Jordanian tech geeks are very ambitious! […] I need more than 140 characters to express my great appreciation to those behind #ArabNetME event. Go @ArabNetME team!

Hassan Mneimneh,
Lebanese Minister of Education

Bill Gates told me recently, that artificial intelligence is the future and that it is his expectation for the new millenium.

Talal Abu Ghazaleh,
Chairman, UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development

Besides obstacles, Lebanon is today moving forward. The government talks about simple priorities such as giving broadband services, reducing barriers to access the Internet, in order to improve Internet services. Lebanon has to be the center of e-services in the region.

Tarek Mitri,
Lebanese Minister of Information

The Internet is a means for furthering consumption far from monopoly, a means that can create fresh working opportunities and turn them into realities. […] [I] call for the development of an Arab internet industry into full blossom of invention and innovation. [There is a] need for an elaborate infrastructure capable of transforming accumulated knowledge into concrete socio-economic output. [There is a] correlation between the digital revolution and audio-visual dissemination, data-storage and improvisation of new info-technologies. Among priorities listed would be: turning Lebanon into an electronic hub based on the huge linguistic potentials available to us, and through putting to use all available wireless potentials to render internet-related services more operational.

Sharbel Nahhas,
Lebanese Minister of Telecom