Economy News

The World Bank calls for making Iraq a global hub for telecommunications and the Internet

The Middle East countries have an opportunity to build a digital economy that transforms them into a commercial service center and advanced connectivity and communication activities, a report by the World Bank said on Thursday, calling for the importance of making Iraq a hub for international connectivity in the broadband and telecommunications markets.

“The region needs to invest $ 4 to $ 5.2 billion to enable 30 percent of the population to have high-speed broadband access,” the bank said in a report entitled “Mashreq 2.0: Digital Transformation for Total Growth and Job Creation” Fiber Optic Technology “.

“The delivery of Internet to more than 13 million families in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq needs to integrate the broadband networks in the region, including basic, terrestrial and marine networks,” the report said.

“Jordan and Lebanon are pioneering examples of fixed and mobile broadband services in the region, while Syria is experiencing challenges because networks are affected by existing conflicts,” the report said.

He added that “Syria and Iraq need to remove barriers to operators in the market and stimulate the markets of telecommunications and broadband Internet, and despite the existence of a broad infrastructure of regional networks and basic, but not exploited optimally because of war and instability, as well as the dominance of state-owned enterprises The report said that Internet exchange points and data centers are less developed in the region. There is only one data exchange center in Beirut, while there is no center in Iraq, Syria or Jordan. ”

In Iraq, the report called for the removal of restrictions on private operators to build, own and operate fiber-optic infrastructure, to allow companies to reach the end-user, and to introduce telecommunications legislation that promotes competition and private sector participation, International broadband services market.

The report recommended to the Lebanese authorities the need to develop a unified vision for the ICT sector, improve financial transparency of the sector, introduce competition through a common legal framework, study the structure of the broadband sector and grant licenses for the fifth generation.

The World Bank called on Jordan to prepare a draft study on the fifth generation networks and grant frequencies to operators, and apply the next generation of public-private partnership, strengthen the regulatory framework and review fees and taxes to stimulate investment and ensure appropriate regulatory control.

The infrastructure of broadband telecommunications services is helping to boost economic growth, as increasing the penetration rate of broadband services by 10 percent leads to an additional 1.4 percent increase in GDP.” Source