Arab Presence on the Internet is Zilch?

Is the Arab World really suffering from digital illiteracy? Take a look…

â??The Arab world is lagging behind in the digital revolution, with Internet users making up less than four percent of its population, according to participants in a telecommunications development conference in Doha.

The Arab presence on the Internet is almost zilch … not more than a few websites providing information or personal sites,” said Syrian Telecommunications and Technology Minister Amr Salem.

…According to statistics compiled by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a co-organizer of the week-long Doha conference ending on March 15, the 22 Arab League members had only 11.7 million Internet users out of a total population of 316 million in 2004.

This amounts to a 3.7 percent penetration rate in the region, whose combined Gross Domestic Product totals 813 billion dollars and per capita income reaches 2,571 dollars.

In contrast, the use of mobile phones is expanding in Arab states, with 45.9 million subscribers in 2004 — a penetration rate of 14.51 percent — compared to 27.1 million landline subscribers, which amounts to an 8.59 percent penetration rate.

The Group of Eight leading industrial nations had a total of 429 million Internet users in 2004, nearly as much as the rest of the world combined — 444 million.

Internet use is growing at varying rates in the Arab world, the ITU’s representative in the region, Ibrahim Haddad, told AFP, pointing to a “very rapid” growth in the oil-rich Gulf monarchies. â?

So what is the reason? Are we uninterested in communication unless it is over a mobile phone? If our computers were the size of mobile phones and shaped like mobile phones, would we be more interested? Does any of this have to do with Star Academy?

Is it the fact that so many people in the Arab world have trouble enough feeding their families let alone being connected to the Internet? Maybe if keyboards were just edible…


  • I think there are several factors. First I think the majority of Arabs lack the money to actually own a computer. Second, acquiring an internet subscription costs way too much money for regular people. Thirds, thereâ??s a lack of education, both in using computers and knowing their benefits. Fourth, the majority of internet websites are in English, I donâ??t the think the majority of Arabs are good English speakers. That being said, Iâ??m interested in seeing numbers of how many Arabs have affordable access to internet (through internet Cafes family, etc) after all, thatâ??s the next best thing to having it at home.

  • In a nutshell…EDUCATOIN!

    Poor schools (not clean and really outdated), no computers at schools and poor English knowledge.

    Nas here is a story, so imagine this. A guy with a university education you ask him to place the mouse on the screen to open a certain software (حط اÙ?فأرة عÙ?Ù? اÙ?شاشة( and he literally takes his mouse and place it on the screen! Oh well actually the pointer did really move after all

    Well, people are hungry, or are not ready for the concept of spending USD100 over something â??educationalâ? you must be out of your mind!

    Still, our public schools are hell holes! Of course itâ??s different from one country to another! Public schools should be like Private schools in order to really achieve something.

    Add to that we donâ??t read!
    I donâ??t blame the people at all! I mean first provide them the very basic health care and respect! Show them respect and dignity, rather shouting at them.

    I still canâ??t figure it out why our public schools are so bad? Seriously, are the salaries too low that they donâ??t care anymore? Low budget?

  • Omar, I’d actually be interested in seeing those numbers too

    Firas, lool. in answer to your last questions…all of the above. but to be fair there have been big moves to put computers in the public schools.

Your Two Piasters: