IGF 2019 Pre-Event #23
The 3rd German-Arab Forum on the Digital Economy

Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Association EMA in collaboration with the federal agency AWE (Agentur für Wirtschaft & Entwicklung)


a) Introduction

Growth rates in the digital economy in the Mediterranean and Middle East region continue to be high. Telecom and Internet providers have worked tirelessly on increasing bandwidth capacities to 4G and more. But there are differences between the countries in the region. While Internet penetration in the small Arab Gulf countries is at a record high of more than 90 percent, figures in North African countries such as Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia range between 44 and 65 percent.

The geographical proximity to Europe, small to no time differences, and the potential for qualified workers put especially North Africa at a competitive advantage. It is against this background that start-up scenes have developed in many Arab countries. No matter if education, healthcare, financial services, or transport & logistics: start-ups in the Mediterranean and Middle East region make smart use of digitization in a variety of business sectors.

The 3rd German-Arab Forum on the Digital Economy sheds light on the digital transformation in the region. It will address two core topics of digitalization: sustainability and the future of work. It aims thusly to highlight success stories and best practice examples and intends to sensitize relevant stakeholders and actors for a sustainable dialog with the region.

b) Program


Opening Remarks from the moderators (1.45 pm – 1.55 pm)

Mrs. Clara Gruitrooy | Secretary General | EMA & Mr. Ian Lachmund | Senior Advisor | AWE


Best Practice Discussion (Panel I): “Achieving Sustainability through Digitalization” (1.55 pm – 2.40 pm)

  • Mr. Michael Krake | Director „Private sector; trade, employment; digital technologies“ | German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Mrs. Jana Dotschkal | Senior Project Manager | Wirtschaftsnetzwerk Afrika / Africa Business Network
  • Mr. Sebastian Kliem | Head of Special Interest Groups | Voice e.V. - Federal Association of IT Users
  • +1 empty seat for active audience participation

Best Practice Discussion (Panel II): "The Impact of Digitalization on the Future of Work" (2.40 pm – 3.25 pm)

  • Mrs. Steffi Kirchberger | Managing Director | JARO
  • Mrs. Amel Saidane | President | Tunisian Startups | Tunisia
  • Mr. Christian Kallenbach | Senior Sales Advisor | Cloud & Heat
  • +1 empty seat for active audience participation

Concluding Remarks by the Moderators (3.25 pm – 3.40 pm)


c) Speakers Biographies


d) Target Audience

The Forum is directed at economic, political, and civil society decision-makers and multipliers from all countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East region including the member states of the Arab League and of the European Union in addition to the other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It aims to highlight the diversity of different perspectives especially regarding social start-ups and female entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the Forum wishes to bring political decision-makers from the mentioned region in contact with representatives of start-ups, associations, and the digital economy at large.

e) Further Information

The German-Arab Forums on the Digital Economy were organized at the CEBIT – the world’s leading digitization fair – in 2017 and 2018 and attracted several hundreds of international experts, entrepreneurs, and representatives from the digital economy. For an overview of the conference findings, speakers, and topics see the websites at the following two links: