On February 12 and 13, the Second Annual CTED Conference took place in Abu Dhabi, titled: “Enhancing Economic Development through Technology: Focus on Africa and other Developing Countries”.

The conference was opened with a keynote address delivered by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Foreign Trade. The Minister, nominated the most powerful Arab woman by the Forbes magazine, received her B.A. in Computer Science at California State University, Chico, and an Executive MBA at the American University in Sharjah. In her address, Sheikha Lubna pointed out how technology had influenced the rapid growth of the UAE economy and urged that technology will be an important engine of growth for African countries as well. The Sheikha commented on the rising importance of trade relations between the UAE and countries on the African continent, some of them the fastest growing economies in the world.  Non-oil trade between the Emirates and African countries increased more than eightfold in the last decade, from $1.7 billion in 2001 to $14.5 billion in 2010.The Sheikha raised the hope that technologies that are being incubated in the UAE could be exported and implemented in Africa. She said that it was important to fully understand the processes of African industries and governments to be able to properly adapt technology to the continent.

The Sheikha congratulated CTED on its conference and stressed the importance of the event “to share our experiences as nations, governments and industry leaders in technology-enabled growth.”

Other members of the opening panel were Jerry Rawlings, Former President of the Republic of Ghana and the African Union High Representative for Somalia, Dr. B.R. Shetty, CEO and Managing Director of the New Medical Centre Group and Dr. Al Bloom, Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi. Yaw Nyarko, Director of CTED.