World Economic Forum Launches ‘Internet for All’ Initiative in Jordan

Dead Sea (Jordan) – The Jordanian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched on Sunday the “Internet for All” initiative, which provides greater opportunities for all segments of the community to access the internet.

During a discussion organized by the WEF, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Majd Shweikeh said that implementing the “Internet for All” initiative ensures digital justice and allows everybody to contribute in achieving economic growth, especially since this plan complements a government plan that is focused on economic motivation.

The minister said the government believes in the importance of digitizing the public sector given that it plays a major role in increasing work efficiency, improving work mechanisms and developing citizens’ lives.

Shweikeh thanked the partners, who contributed in launching the initiative, which is considered a way to fulfill the government’s goals of digitization.

She pointed out that the coverage of internet and mobile phones in the country has reached 85 percent and 150 percent respectively. The minister revealed that the fiber optic network aimed at connecting all Jordanian regions will be complete in 2020.

Shweikeh noted that her ministry has launched this initiative to fulfill four goals: shifting towards the electronic government by adapting to the digital transformation; empowerment of woman and entrepreneurs by securing access to the internet and its services; enhancement of Arabic content on the internet; and support and empowerment of refugees, particularly in reaching education and health services.

Andrew Harper, former UNHCR representative to Jordan, said deploying internet services in marginalized areas is considered a “good commitment,” noting that accessing the internet means reaching services of health and education and bolstering security.

Harper added that transformation of generations and exploitation of the internet contribute in supporting and empowering refugees so they can be contributors in society instead of dependents. He said the internet is the key of the future for refugees.

Hani Raad, Cisco general manager in the Levant and Lebanon, said the company is working with the Jordanian government and the ICT ministry on developing institutional capacities, training, promoting infrastructure, enhancing Jordan’s capacity in competitiveness and achieving economic growth.

He added that Cisco cooperates in linking institutions in the academic and education sector. This long partnership has contributed in training over 16,000 students in the academic system, 41 percent of them are females, which supports woman empowerment.

He also highlighted the company’s contributions in supporting entrepreneurship in the kingdom and in Arabizing some curricula to secure a rapid transformation towards a smart environment.

Raad stressed the importance of enhancing partnership between the public and private sectors along with connecting all the community with the internet.

“We cannot completely depend on governments and cooperation with companies is required,” he explained.

Ahmed Hanandeh, chief executive officer of Zain Jordan, said “Internet for All” does not only connect people to the internet, but also provides users with e-trade and health and education services.