With the goal of bringing together relevant stakeholders to share and coordinate activities with regard to advancing the use of technology in developing regions, NYUAD's Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED), in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade, held its second annual conference, "Enhancing Economic Development through Technology: Focus on Africa and other Developing Regions," earlier this week.
The two-day conference, which ended yesterday, included a keynote address from UAE Minister of Foreign Trade H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, who highlighted the role of technology in stimulating innovation and developing knowledge-based economies. "The broadening adoption of mobile telephony and other ICT channels across sub-Saharan Africa has triggered a massive surge in living standards," she said. "Given these developments, it is high time that the development potential of technology be thoroughly examined, discussed, promoted, and championed in Africa and in other developing areas of the world."
The former President of the Republic of Ghana and current African Union High Representative for Somalia H.E. Jerry Rawlings was also in attendance. He discussed technology's role in international humanitarian relief efforts to deliver more efficient solutions in delivering aid. "We have seen impressive examples of humanitarian workers using accessible technological solutions to organize their efforts and connect with members of the community," he said.
Conference participants — who included international central bank governors and members of local institutions such as UAE Exchange and Masdar — heard from researchers and experts in information technology and economic development about how cutting-edge technology can be applied to overcome challenges in the fields of mobile money, food security, energy, health care, and education.
As Director of CTED Yaw Nyarko said, "In just two years, CTED has already initiated some landmark projects on the ground in developing countries. In particular, we have experimented with innovative mobile phone applications in addition to using new technologies, such as solar energy, to provide electricity to rural areas. This annual conference creates a forum for us to share and learn from others who share similar goals to promote development through the use of technology."