Acknowledging the challenge of job creation, Queen Rania Al Abdullah was nonetheless optimistic about emerging opportunities in the region. Speaking at the inauguration of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014, she said, “The good news is that new industries are emerging. The digital landscape is evolving. And internet connectivity and mobile technologies are creating new horizons for entrepreneurs. Arab internet users are growing at around 20 per cent annually. Mobile penetration at around 110 per cent.”
She also highlighted the potential of e-commerce in the region, as well as a ICT sector that is set to hit US$20 billion in 2020.
A burgeoning technology sector. An insatiable consumer market. And a huge youth population hungry for opportunity. The conditions for explosive growth are within reach.
VIDEO: Opening Keynote at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014
Talking about the resources the Arab World possess, she said that the region has the values, the money, the minds, the youth, the technology, the market, the networks, and the motivation to tap into these reserves and create lasting change. Calling on to the youth of the Arab world, her concluding words resonated with most. She said, “”For the sake of each one of us…for Islam and the Arab world…for the future of our young people, we must create a new narrative and broadcast it to the world. Because if we don’t decide what our identity is…and what our legacy will be, the extremists will do it for us.”
The Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, welcomed Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Sheikh Nahyan Al Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and a number of media industry guests to Abu Dhabi, and reflected on the importance of the media industry to the regional economy.
“The media sector is becoming increasingly far ranging and relevant. From a regional perspective, our industry represents an ever-increasing and significant contributor to the regional economy,” Al Mubarak said.
He went on to describe the market opportunity in MENA, which is being driven by the relentless increase in connectivity in the region. He gave comment on how media innovation is transforming the way students receive and engage with information, and how twofour54 is responding with a number of initiatives to support the industry’s development.
“All of twofour54’s investments are giving young UAE Nationals unprecedented access to a thriving industry in which they can learn their craft, improve their skills, develop new ideas and help shape the media sector of the future.” “Through education and training the media industry has an unrivalled potential to contribute to the development of future generations, formally and informally, directly and indirectly, in this region and globally. That is both a huge opportunity and a great responsibility,” he added.
In introducing Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, he reminded the audience of Her Majesty”s strong advocacy of education in the Middle East and North Africa, saying “I can think of no better person to open our Summit on the future of media in the MENA region and beyond.” This year’s three day programme features a series of panel discussions, interviews and presentations by seasoned industry leaders as well as new players. Each day is focused around a particular industry topic: content creation, distribution and financing.
Day two of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit – which is open to the public – will kick off tomorrow with a presentation by Facebook’s Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn. This will be followed by a panel discussion on technology, social media and women in MENA, featuring Princess Ameera Al-Taweel, Founder and CEO of Time Entertainment and Dalya Al Munthanna, CEO of GE Gulf, among others.
Robert A. Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard will take to the stage to discuss the gaming sector, while Gerhard Zeiler President of Turner Broadcasting International will be interviewed on the future of broadcasting. In a keynote speech, CEO of Imax Corporation Richard Gelfond will address the next big thing for the big screen.
The disruptive impact of online video and the ‘second screen’ on the medium of television will be discussed by panelists from Twitter, Sky News Arabia, Istikana and BBC Future Media. Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC, and twofour54’s Chief Legal Officer, Greg Sweeting will participate in the final panel discussion of day two, which will look combatting content piracy in the digital age.
Abu Dhabi Media Summit is one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in the field of media and has quickly established itself as an essential date on the global media leadership calendar. Powered by twofour54, the invitation-only event hosts a select number of industry leaders, building upon Abu Dhabi’s position as the Arab world’s creativity and media hub.