BEIRUT - HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh praised the leadership of Eng. Adel Sakr, Director General of the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) in transforming the Organization into a knowledge-based entity, adding that mining’ i.e. extracting valuable minerals also includes Data Mining.

In his speech during the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) expert group meeting on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Local Industrial Development, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh stressed the importance of forming a Task Force to set up an applied strategy and plan to benefit from AI applications in education, governance, health, economy and trade in the Arab region, and other regions, bearing in mind that AI is not limited to governments but to every human being as well. 
Furthermore, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh called for establishing the Task Force with the joint leadership of ESCWA and AIDMO. 

At the end of his speech, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh pointed out that such an initiative needs the formation of various committees in the areas of education, health, agriculture and industry and every committee will be in charge of studying ways of applying AI in their field of expertise. 

The session was inaugurated by Mr. Mounir Thabet, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCWA, deputizing for ESCWA Executive Secretary Dr. Rola Dashti, in the presence of Eng. Adel Sakr, AIDMO Director General in addition to a host of government officials from the Arab countries and experts in the fields of industry and AI applications.  

During the speech, Thabet said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future and a must to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). AI applications, with their ability to acquire information, analyze, and take prompt decisions, will uphold productivity and competitiveness of agricultural sectors, promote local industrial development, enhance industry efficiency and economic growth.

On behalf of Dr. Dashti, Thabet said, “this cross-bordering technology is our way to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). If we take advantage of the enormous opportunities it offers, we will succeed in achieving sustainable development, but if we fail to do so, we will be marginalized.” Dashti called for drafting guidelines for policymakers to make use of when developing national policies and strategies harnessing AI are functioning in a safe and productive way; and are able to take legislative, regulatory and innovative measures in various fields, such as education, employment, empowerment of women and youth, institution-building, infrastructure, governance, ICT and investment.

For his part, Sakr pointed out that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will impact all the aspects of human activity as a result of technology development related to large data, AI, four-dimensional printing, Internet of Things and the fifth-generation cellular network technology. He added that keeping pace with the 4IR progress in the world has become dependent on how fast societies and economies can cope with these developments. He said that AIDMO is keen to keep pace with the future industries that are based on knowledge as a major pillar in the growth of Arab economy through formulating and implementing specialized programs and events. 

At the end of the session, Dr. Fouad Mrad, Executive Director of ESCWA Technology Center, stated ESCWA and AIDMO would work on implementation of the initiative launched by Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh in collaboration with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global and other partners whether they were experts, research centers, universities or regional organizations.