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|21 March, 2019

Digitization crucial to prosperity, Lebanon's PM says

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that a countrywide effort was necessary in order to implement Lebanon’s digital economy project

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, November 13, 2018.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, November 13, 2018.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday that a countrywide effort was necessary in order to implement Lebanon’s digital economy project, in a televised speech during the Digital Economy Roadmap workshop held at the Grand Serail. “Today, digitization is one of the primary building blocks for national prosperity,” Hariri said.

“A digitized nation sparks economic growth faster, and fuels transformation across all economic sectors,” he added.

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Hariri said that the workshop, which was co-organized by the World Bank, was held in order to determine the principal components that are necessary to develop a digital economy.

According to Hariri, these components include the strengthening of telecommunications infrastructure, a healthy cycle of education feeding into research and innovation and the creation of the right legal environment through institutional reform.

“A digitized nation is simply more intelligent,” the prime minister emphasized.

World Bank regional director Saroj Kumar Jha said that Lebanon could count on the support of the Word Bank on its road to developing a digital economy.

“We will do everything possible so that Lebanon becomes not only Singapore, but Singapore 3.0, because you have the potential, the minds and the determination to make it happen,” he said

In his speech, Hariri said that on the World Digitization Index, Lebanon ranks 105 among 183 countries, scoring 57 percent in terms of overall digital adoption, while the government’s digitization scored a mere 49 percent.

This low ranking can partly be attributed to a lack of cooperation between public institutions, according to Hariri, who noted that the problem in Lebanon is that “we do not like to work together.”

“We aspire to have a cooperative republic where the governmental institutions manage to serve the citizens,” he said.

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