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Heir Apparent opens Knowledge-based Industries and Nanotech conference

The Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inaugurated on Monday 11 February 2008 the International Conference on Knowledge -based Industries (KBI) and Nanotechnology.

After recitation of verses from the Holy Qur'an, H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry, addressed the opening ceremony and conveyed thanks to His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for sponsoring such a conference and welcomed as well H H the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

H E Al-Attiyah praised the due care and attention H H the Emir accords to further enhancing the Qatari economy based on knowledge to acquire a leading position in knowledge industry and capture a pioneering outstanding position in such a vital aspect.

"This has made of Qatar an exemplary model to follow in the march of economic and social transfer to the best as it is the case in the other member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) which are witnessing tangible developments in most of the economic sectors and achieved relevant unprecedented rates in the past few years," H E Al-Attiyah said.

H E Al-Attiyah wished the conference would provide ample opportunities to the Arab countries in general and the Gulf countries in particular to preserve highly growth rates in view of the bright and splendid success and prosperity such knowledge industries and nanotechnologies achieved similar to the one achieved by the mechanical industries in the industrial revolution in the past.

"The State of Qatar and the rest of the GCC members have started changing their ways of dealing with the new economies and have become more prepared to adopt such economies more swiftly than before and this is clearly demonstrated in the sharp and sound view of the government and its role for spreading the e-government and focussing on the qualitative health services and supporting education and modern scientific research," H E Al-Attiyah said.

Organized by the Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), in association with the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO), the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and Qatar Petroleum (QP), the two-day conference titled 'Towards a Developed Knowledge-based Arab Economy' aims to reviews means of collective understanding of emerging new technologies and ensure their development in the GCC.

The conference on knowledge-based industries and Nanotechnology, which is a first in the GCC, intends to introduce the concepts and benefits of these new technologies and also to provide an opportunity to identify and adopt new technologies at an early stage.

 With the industrial base in the GCC expanding, GOIC feels that it is time to enhance the knowledge content of the economies in the region. To realise this goal, a greater emphasis on human capital is a major pre-requisite to transform the GCC region from a production-based into a knowledge-based economy with effective utilization of nano and bio technologies.

Nanotechnology is expected to cover a host of new applications ranging from faster computers, advanced filtering machines that can easily purify anything from water to blood, to long lasting implants such as heart valves and artificial joints. The US National Science Foundation predicted that the market for nanotechnology, or products deriving from nanotechnology, will reach more than $1 trillion in 10 to 15 years.

Meanwhile, today's biotechnology is a blooming industry evaluated at more than $30 billion and has a wide range of applications, especially in medical diagnostic tests from home pregnancy to checking everyday diabetic level.

The Arab World Competitiveness Report of 2007 has cautioned the GCC region will face an unprecedented rise in demand for health care. The estimated total health-care spending in the region will reach $60 billion in 2025, up from around $12 billion today. This has compelled the region to take note of new technologies that holds the future of healthcare system and adopt it to leverage the future cost of health care provision in the region.

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