Sharjah to host first Regional Data and Community Development Forum

Official logo of the forum, scheduled for October 9 and 10 at Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre
Official logo of the forum, scheduled for October 9 and 10 at Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre
Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The power of data in improving health, housing, transport, education and other sectors will be explored in a first-of-its kind conference in Sharjah.

The inaugural ‘Regional Data and Community Development Forum’ will be held on October 9 and 10 at Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre.

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Under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) on Wednesday announced details about the Forum.

The pioneering event marks a first for the region, DSCD said, as it brings together experts to highlight the power that data has in turning sustainable social development plans into tangible realities.

The forum is being organised in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the GCC Statistical Centre, and various federal, regional, and international entities.

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Need for accurate data

Highlighting the Forum’s importance, Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of DSCD, said: “By organising this forum, a first-of-its-kind in the region, Sharjah sets a global example for community development and the undeniable role of data in achieving our aspirations. Accurate data empowers countries to shape their futures and establish themselves as influential economic, cultural, developmental, and social forces.”

He added: “Within the data-driven world we live in, the effectiveness of government and private initiatives is measured by their ability to harness and utilise data effectively. This forum extends an invitation to every individual and institution within the community to join the development journey by establishing reliable benchmarks for decision-making, enhancing societal well-being, and improving quality of life, particularly in key areas such as education, healthcare, and sustainable living.”

Data-driven investment

In line with the UAE’s strategic vision to strengthen the data economy, the Forum will focus on the rapidly growing data centre market in the UAE, which is expected to reach around Dh6.3 billion by 2027 and Dh9 billion by 2028. This significant growth is reflective of the country’s commitment to data-driven innovation, shown by the UAE’s ranking of ninth globally in the 2023 Open Data Inventory report by Open Data Watch, which assessed data availability and openness across 187 countries.

Main discussions

Over the course of two days, the forum will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, including decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, economists, business community members, and representatives from regional and global statistical data centres.

Key discussions will cover the strategic applications of data in enhancing healthcare efficiency through artificial intelligence, innovative educational approaches, and the role that precise data analysis has regarding housing, work, mobility, and trade.

The Forum will also examine the valuable services programmers and statistical institutions provide in addressing pressing societal challenges such as natural disasters, economic turmoil, and pandemics.

Highlighting the critical importance of data in enhancing services and infrastructure, promoting social welfare, and developing urban plans, the event aims to also serve as a valuable resource for researchers and academics. By providing insights into the latest advancements in data sciences and offering tools for research and analysis, the Forum will promote the integration of scientific data into development initiatives.

For entrepreneurs and business owners, the Forum will provide an opportunity to gain insights into data-driven strategies that can elevate their competitiveness, drive success, and ensure long-term sustainability.

The event will also shed light on the importance of data in everyday life, offering practical recommendations for governments and institutions to inform their planning and development initiatives, which ultimately has an effect on the general economy.