Data is ‘oil of the future,’ Dubai government summit told

Mohamed Al-Gergawi, UAE minister for cabinet affairs and the future
Updated 11 February 2018

Data is ‘oil of the future,’ Dubai government summit told

DUBAI: Data is the “oil of the future,” Mohammad Al-Gergawi, UAE minister for cabinet affairs and the future, told the opening session of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
A packed audience heard the minister set out the agenda for the three-day event, which has attracted 4,000 leaders from the worlds of business and economic and public policy. Digital communications giants such as Google and Facebook would soon know more about individuals than governments do, Al-Gergawi said.
“By 2045, we will be able to transfer and upload the contents of the human mind to a data center. Governments must be prepared for these coming changes. The aim of this summit is to find answers and set priorities to meet these challenges and opportunities.”
The theme of the summit is “shaping future governments,” and Al-Gergawi detailed the challenges policymakers will face in health, artificial intelligence, crypto currencies and their impact on global finance, climate change and the issues of digital connectivity.
Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, who also spoke at the opening session, harked back 10 years to the onset of the global financial crisis, which he said threatened a series of other crises in economies, in societies and between generations.
“We avoided a complete breakdown of the financial system, but there was a cost. The world’s debts now add up to 200 per cent of global GDP,” he said.
Schwab said most experts, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Monetary Fund, were forecasting two years of  “sound, comprehensive growth,” but he said financial markets were still addicted to low interest rates and cheap capital.
There were still risks of a social crisis, he said, with levels of inequality and an unfair system of wealth distribution, as well as a generational crisis. “The world’s education systems do not satisfy the requirements of the 21st century.”
He highlighted global risks such as geopolitical issues, inequality, cybersecurity, gender parity and failures of leadership.
The pace of technological change was increasing all the time and adding to the pressures on policymakers, Schwab said. “Never before has the speed of change been so fast as in 2018. But also, never again will the speed of change be so slow as it is in 2018.”


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.