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There are five different sections, by themes, at the ICT4All Exhibition, but I would divide them in my own five categories. These categories are corporates, NGOs, governments, international organizations and Tunisians. A report from one far corner of the floor (literally) of the exhibition.
It was the top on my agenda today to go around the ICT4All exhibition and see what’s out there in some detail. So, here I am now at the BCO Village. The BCO Village is actually a very happening place… presentations, launches, discussion sessions usually stuffed with lots of people. I could only find some space on the floor, in a far corner, as I needed to connect and post this blog.

Now about the exhibition.

Well, the exhibition is as big as it was in Geneva. Loads of information, new technologies, amazing research, quite a few solutions and lots of publications are the words for this exhibition.

There are some 300 different stalls in five different sections — e-Solutions Quartier (24 stalls), Inclusive Access Quartier (18 stands), Development and Partnership Quartier (87 stands), Research and Innovation Quartier (15 stands), and National Pavilions (156 stalls).

When you go around the exhibition, one can distinctly feel the difference and the way different stands are presented. However, I would divide them in my own five categories. These categories are corporates, NGOs, governments, international organizations and Tunisians.

Corporate stalls are the most decorated ones, with beautiful, usually Tunisian model girls, attracting customers and offering give-aways. These stalls are most crowded ones also.

NGOs, as we all know, depend upon the budget lines and the kind of money they would get from the donors, so there are few very good ones and few sort-of-acceptable stalls… important thing is that they are there.

For government pavilions, I would further divide them into two sub categories. Pavilions from ‘developed’ countries and pavilions from ‘developing’ countries. The presentation all depends upon the kind of money they could spare for this exhibition.

Developed countries, particularly the EU countries, have huge spaces with lots of people and EU ministers visiting in large delegations…very festive and hi-tech.

For their part, the ‘developing’ countries…first I would give them the credit that even with their meagre resources they are present in this rather expensive exhibition.

Unfortunately, Pakistan didn’t learn any lesson from its Geneva experience and again there is no presence of Pakistan in ICT4All Exhibition… That’s a very personal frustration… Wish Pakistan had a pavilion, where at least, I could invite all of my friends of various nationalities for a cup of coffee, as I have been invited by Indians, Hungarians, Croatians, Canadians and Kenyans.

International organizations — like the UNESCO, UNIDO, UNDP, IDRC, SDC etc. — are donors as well, so there is no dearth of money. They have setup very fancy, decently decorated pavilions with very stylish outlook. Lots of give-aways and published literature.

Free coffee and cookies with packs of delicious Tunisian fresh dates and very special Mediterranean nuts. I particularly liked the cushions at UNESCO stand, where one can sit and browse internet in lots of comfort… Remember am sitting on the floor ;)

Then there are Tunisian stands… Lots of them actually, and by different Tunisian government departments and agencies along with two mobile companies in Tunisia.

One thing is very common in each stall and that is the beautiful smiling picture of H.E. Zine el Abidine with his hands on his chest…greeting visitors in Arabic style. Tunisian stalls have also hired lots of pretty girls from local universities to help the visitors in these pavilions.

This is how I saw this exhibition.

More later.