17 Aug 2012
We are very excited to be welcoming Wael Fakharany, Regional Manager at Google Middle East, onto the Meedan Board of Directors. Based in Cairo, Wael has over 20 years' experience managing technology businesses in the Middle East and brings a wealth of business development knowledge that can help Meedan become sustainable.
We asked Wael some questions about joining the Meedan board, what he thinks he can contribute and where Meedan can bring value to Middle East web users in the years ahead.
How do you feel about joining the Meedan board?
Wael: I am extremely excited about joining the Meedan board due to their excellent track record of promoting Arabic content on the web and developing applications which can aid the Arabic-speaking user to further extend their presence on the web in their native language.
What about Meedan attracted you to taking up a position on the board?
Wael: Their work on promoting Arabic content on the web is nothing short of extraordinary. I am personally interested in any companies which promote the fostering, increasing and development of Arabic content on the web. The Arabic content ecosystem is growing stronger and stronger. Internet users grew by more than 275% in the last 6 years and continues to grow at an incredible speed. An organization such as Meedan recognizes the opportunities in the Arab world, with a total population of over 400 million people, 60% of which are under 25. Internet penetration in the region is around 22%, with significant potential for the Arabic web and its growth in the near future.
What do you think you can contribute to Meedan?
Wael: I am truly passionate about languages and technology. My work at Google over the past 5 years has taught me how to address millions of users, work on very large projects, and try to solve big problems, which is very similar to what Meedan is trying to achieve. I think that the stars are “well aligned” and that technologies are mature enough to start creating a technology platform to develop the multilingual web.
Where can Meedan really increase its impact in the Middle East over the next couple of years in your view?
Wael: Amplifying the voice of the Arabic web, combining translation services with digital tools to enable knowledge sharing and dialogue, scaling its platforms across more users and learning how to engage more with Arabic users.
How does the decision to work with us align with Google's policy on supporting non-profits and open technology in the Middle East?
Wael: Google is one company helping to drive forward the “Arabisation” of the web worldwide. A special team of engineers is tasked with resolving some of the unique difficulties around how search engines and websites handle right-to-left languages, particularly Arabic. Meedan is equally keen on achieving the same goals via their own methods of which Google is extremely supportive. The existence of multiple entities working towards the same goal in the region only works to further ensure that the users will be the ultimate winners.