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The RIPE Network Coordination Centre (NCC) held recently roundtable meeting in Saudi Arabia, hosted by the country’s Communications & Information Technology Commission (CITC). The meeting focused on the current opportunities and challenges across the Middle East in managing Internet resources, including trends, statistics and recent developments in the region.

Themed ‘Managing Internet Resources in Arab Countries’, H.E. Dr. Abdul-Aziz Al-Ruwais, Governor of CITC opened the meeting with Mr. Paul Rendek, Director of External Relations, RIPE NCC. The discussion took off with a review of the collaboration and outcomes after the previous roundtable meeting in Bahrain in 2017.

H.E. Al-Ruwais said: “The Communications & Information Technology Commission remains committed in boosting the engagement of government regulators in the discussions related to internet resources. He added that Saudi Arabia is keen to tap the developments in the internet sector to accelerate growth and continuously diversify the economy in the country and the region.”

Mr. Paul Rendek, Director of External relations at the RIPE NCC, noted: “At the RIPE NCC we’re committed to working with stakeholders in the Arab countries to help them advance their Internet sectors. We commend the work of Saudi Arabia’s Communications & Information Technology Commission in taking a leadership role and developing new initiatives to support the growth of networks in their country. These meetings are an ideal platform to address some of the pressing challenges facing information sharing and Internet security today.”

The RIPE NCC explained how to leverage the opportunities that come from a growing Internet sector and smart regulations and detailed how the not-for-profit group has worked with regulators in the region to promote development. Also discussed was the impact of the European Union’s recently-introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which establishes protections surrounding the personal data of EU citizens and residents. 

Among the countries participating in the meeting were the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen and Egypt.