The RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), a not-for-profit membership organisation, joined leaders and experts in a series of hybrid conferences recently in Dubai to support the development of Internet infrastructure in the Arab region.

The Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit, e-AGE21 and the Arab Digital Cooperation and Development Forum (ADCDF) were held simultaneously to tackle various vital issues for the development of the Internet and its governance, the digital ecosystem, data regulation and digital collaboration. The RIPE NCC, as the Regional Internet Registry for the Middle East, Europe and parts of Central Asia, contributed valuable insights, data and analytics at these high-level events.

The Internet landscape in the Gulf region has experienced tremendous growth in a relatively short period of time. Although markets were later to develop than in parts of the world like Europe and North America, the region has prioritised digitisation and made huge strides in achieving its digital transformation goals.

Governments and service providers have each had a role to play. Removing regulatory barriers has made it easier to establish Internet exchange points and deploy IPv6. A more diverse field of service providers are acquiring Internet address resources and running their own networks.

The 15th edition of the Telecom Review Leaders' Summit, the industry's most prominent information and communications technology (ICT) event, was held at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. With the theme ‘It's All About Smart Networking’, the summit convened industry professionals and decision-makers to discuss the role of new technologies such as AI, IoT, cloud computing and others during the pandemic and post-pandemic periods.

The in-depth panel discussions revolved around crucial industry topics, including 5G monetisation, network infrastructure, IPv6 deployment, digital transformation and emerging technologies.

In another set of events, the RIPE NCC attended and sponsored the 11th edition of e-AGE21, which took place virtually from 13 to 15 December with the theme ‘e-Infrastructure for Science and Beyond’. This event highlighted NRENs, national research and education networks, which are dedicated to supporting the needs of research and academic communities.

The first session, ‘NRENs, Services, and Future’, centred the spotlight on the need to encourage a culture of innovation and creativity. During the session, Gergana Petrova, External Relations Officer at the RIPE NCC, emphasised how the future of employment needs upskilling to keep pace with the integration of cloud computing, Internet protocols, IoT and big data, among others. She also expressed the RIPE NCC's commitment to helping professionals and students learn in-demand skills through certified courses in certain areas.

The RIPE NCC also took part in the ESCWA-hosted Digital Cooperation and Development Forum, in association with the League of Arab States and other key players, including the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The RIPE NCC joined on the second day of the 10-day forum, which witnessed various policy dialogues and advocacy on critical digital development and cooperation issues. In the first session, on 16 December, the panel discussed the Internet ecosystem's legal, policy and regulatory framework. Chafic Chaya, Regional Communications Manager at RIPE NCC, highlighted the progress in regional Internet regulations and how the RIPE NCC provided continuing support to governments and regulators in the region, helping them to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals and to advance their digital economy.

Meanwhile, the second session focused on ‘How the Internet Works’ and highlighted vital information about Internet fundamentals, governing organisations, Internet protocols (IP) and the Domain Name System (DNS). Gergana Petrova spearheaded this lecture on the fundamentals of the Internet that was aimed at engaging the youth and students.

The virtual event also featured William Johnson, Instructional Designer at the RIPE NCC. He demonstrated and explained various online capacity-building programmes, academic efforts and Certified Professionals programmes offered by the RIPE NCC. These certification programmes are focused on assisting the youth and the Internet community at large.

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