‘By next decade, 70% of new value in global economy will be based on digitally enabled business models’: DCO’s Deemah AlYahya

 Deemah Al-Yahya, Digital Cooperation Organization secretary-general. (Supplied/DCO)
Deemah AlYahya, Digital Cooperation Organization secretary-general. (Supplied/DCO)
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Updated 26 May 2022

‘By next decade, 70% of new value in global economy will be based on digitally enabled business models’: DCO’s Deemah AlYahya

‘By next decade, 70% of new value in global economy will be based on digitally enabled business models’: DCO’s Deemah AlYahya
  • Digital Cooperation Organization Secretary-General Deemah AlYahya says internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity
  • DCO was created to offer governments the tools, policies and guidance to facilitate their digital transformation

DAVOS: Collaboration between governments, the private sector and civil societies is crucial to ensuring the digital economy works for all, according to an international  digital innovation expert, who described Internet access as “no longer a luxury, but a necessity.” 

Following the launch of a Digital Foreign Direct Investment initiative with the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Deemah AlYahya, Digital Cooperation Organization secretary-general, told Arab News that the organization’s goal is to help facilitate a global digital transformation.

The DCO supports youth, women and startup entrepreneurs in its member states, which have a combined economic output of nearly $2 trillion and a population of 600 million, with the organization hoping to bring its initiatives to more countries in future.

The international body, which includes Saudi Arabia, aims to promote prosperity, social stability and growth of the digital economy by unifying efforts to advance digital transformation.

“We’re expanding by the minute,” AlYahya said. “But we are really focusing on creating the right impact; we have been created to deliver and accelerate the digital economy for our member countries.

“Therefore, the focus is not the expansion, it’s more rolling out the right initiatives, support and tools that will enable the member nations and like-minded countries to transform digital opportunities into reality. But we’re getting requests from several nations for them to join us.”

Figures released recently by the International Telecommunication Union showed 2.9 billion people still lack access to the Internet and are excluded from the digital economy.

According to AlYahya, Internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity “as important as having electricity or even water,” and governments are now realizing the importance of implementing digital transformation.

DCO was created to offer governments the tools, policies and guidance to facilitate this transformation. “It’s a huge issue, because it is the beginning of any cultural, social and economic reform,” AlYahya said.

“After the pandemic, for governments to start digitally transforming, they needed the right tools, reforms in their policies and regulations; they needed resources, they needed investment, and that need takes time.

“So (DCO) has been thought of and looked at to be that enabling force that helps governments. 

“DCO’s uniqueness is that we create a shared space between governments, the private sector and civil society to co-create and co-design together from the beginning to expedite that transformation,” she added.

Given the engine of the digital economy is data, legislation ensuring protection of data and online security is an important topic, and one the DCO takes seriously, AlYahya said.

“Cross-border data flow is a topic that we have to look into; it was the first, and is one of our major, initiatives (with member states).”

With 70 percent of their populations young and tech-savvy, DCO member states have a healthy entrepreneurial and startup spirit shaping the digital economy, AlYahya said.

“(Youth) needs are increasing, they need capital, they need the right environment to test and innovate; they need the right human capital development, and training and resources for them to learn,” she said.

“But, also, they need to connect to the world. Even if countries provide all of (those things), and change regulations and policies to enable startups, if they don’t have a market and a consumer base, they cannot grow.”

The keys to successfully implementing the digital transformation are striking a balance between over-regulation and too little regulation, as well as making foreign direct investment into the sector as easy as possible, according to AlYahya.

 “We know that 70 percent of the new value created in the global economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled business models, so the key to unlocking any economic prosperity is FDI.”

Ensuring cross-border investment helps not only in terms of capital, but also knowledge transfer, innovation, and human capital development, she said.

“I truly believe that with cooperation, working together, we can help every person, every company, every country to benefit from the tremendous opportunities this economy that can bring,” she added.

 


Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan
Updated 10 sec ago

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on Tuesday on police escorting a team of polio workers in northwestern Pakistan, killing two policemen, authorities said.
None of the polio workers were harmed, said Mohammad Imran, a local police official. The four polio workers and their police escort were all traveling on motorcycles.
The assailants fled the scene and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Gomal, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
The attack came on the second day of Pakistan’s latest anti-polio campaign in the province. Pakistan has registered 14 new polio cases since April, all from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The outbreak has been a blow to the Islamic nation’s efforts to eradicate the disease, which can cause severe paralysis in children.
Pakistan’s anti-polio campaigns are regularly marked by violence as Islamic militants often target polio teams and police protecting them, falsely claiming that the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic. In 2021, Pakistan reported only one case, raising hopes it was close to eradicating polio.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin lashes out at US over Ukraine, Taiwan

Russian leader Vladimir Putin lashes out at US over Ukraine, Taiwan
Updated 28 min 19 sec ago

Russian leader Vladimir Putin lashes out at US over Ukraine, Taiwan

Russian leader Vladimir Putin lashes out at US over Ukraine, Taiwan
  • ‘The situation in Ukraine shows that the US is trying to prolong this conflict’
  • ‘We see this as a carefully planned provocation’

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused Washington of seeking to prolong the conflict in Ukraine and of fueling conflicts elsewhere in the world, including with the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
“The situation in Ukraine shows that the US is trying to prolong this conflict. And they act in exactly the same way, fueling the potential for conflict in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Putin said in televised remarks, addressing the opening ceremony of a security conference in Moscow via videolink.
“The American adventure in relation to Taiwan is not just a trip of an individual irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, conscious US strategy to destabilize and make chaotic the situation in the region and the world,” he added.
He said the visit was a “brazen demonstration of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and for its (Washington’s) international obligations.”
“We see this as a carefully planned provocation,” Putin said.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been in tatters since Russia in late February launched a military intervention in pro-Western Ukraine.
Pummeled by a barrage of unprecedented Western sanctions, Putin has sought to bolster ties with countries in Africa and Asia, especially with China.
Moscow was in full solidarity with key ally Beijing during Pelosi’s August visit to self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which China considers its territory.


Iran says Swedish citizen detained for espionage might face other charges

Iran says Swedish citizen detained for espionage might face other charges
Updated 16 August 2022

Iran says Swedish citizen detained for espionage might face other charges

Iran says Swedish citizen detained for espionage might face other charges

DUBAI: A Swedish citizen detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage might face other charges, Iranian judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi said on Tuesday in a televised news conference.
The suspect, who remains unnamed, had been under surveillance by the intelligence ministry during several previous trips to Iran because of “suspicious behavior,” the official IRNA news agency reported in July.


Bus rams into fuel truck in eastern Pakistan, killing 20

Bus rams into fuel truck in eastern Pakistan, killing 20
Updated 16 August 2022

Bus rams into fuel truck in eastern Pakistan, killing 20

Bus rams into fuel truck in eastern Pakistan, killing 20
  • The bus was traveling from the eastern city of Lahore to the southern port city of Karachi
  • Deadly traffic accidents are common in Pakistan due to poor road infrastructure and disregard for traffic laws

MULTAN, Pakistan: A passenger bus rammed into a fuel truck on a highway in eastern Pakistan before dawn on Tuesday, igniting a fire that killed at least 20 people, police and rescue officials said.
According to the officials, the accident happened near the town of Jalalpur Peerwala in Punjab province. The bus was traveling from the eastern city of Lahore to the southern port city of Karachi.
Tahir Wattoo, a local government official in Multan, the nearest district, said early indications were that the bus driver’s negligence had caused the collision. The driver, who was also killed, slammed into the back of the fuel truck, according to photographs from the scene.
The injured were taken to hospital and at least six passengers were reported in critical condition, he added.
Some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition and DNA tests will be conducted to identify the remains before the bodies are handed over to the families, Wattoo also said.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif offered his condolences in a statement and asked health authorities to provide the best possible treatment to the injured.
Deadly traffic accidents are common in Pakistan due to poor road infrastructure and disregard for traffic laws.


Armenian blast death toll rises to 16

Armenian blast death toll rises to 16
Updated 16 August 2022

Armenian blast death toll rises to 16

Armenian blast death toll rises to 16
  • Sunday’s blast at the Surmalu wholesale market also injured 60 people
  • Local authorities have excluded the possibility that it was a terror attack

YEREVAN: The death toll from an explosion at a bustling market in the Armenian capital Yerevan rose to 16, Armenia’s emergency situations ministry said on Tuesday.
Sunday’s blast at the Surmalu wholesale market also injured 60 people after it caused a fire and the collapse of a building.
“Sixteen bodies were found during search and rescue efforts,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that 18 people were still missing.
Officials said more than 350 rescuers are at work on the ground.
The cause has not yet been established, but local news reports, citing witnesses, said the explosion went off at a place that stored fireworks.
Local authorities have excluded the possibility that it was a terror attack and prosecutors have already launched a probe into violations “on stocking inflammable goods,” breaches in fire safety standards and the death of people “due to negligence.”
The disaster comes as the country of three million people is still recovering from a 2020 war with Azerbaijan, which ended in a heavy defeat and sparked a political crisis.
Shortly after Sunday’s blast, officials evacuated people from Yerevan metro stations after a bomb threat, but authorities found no explosive device.