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Saudi Arabia launches digital cooperation body with allies
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 26 - 11 - 2020

Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan, has launched a new organization to accelerate the growth of the digital economy, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday citing a statement from the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The group, to be known as the Digital Cooperation Organization, is a global organization aimed at strengthening cooperation across all innovation-driven areas and accelerating the growth of the digital economy, the statement said.
The DCO is driven by a vision to realize a digital future for all by empowering women, youth and entrepreneurs, growing the digital economy, and leapfrogging with innovation, the statement added.
The event was attended by senior government officials from the founding member countries along with the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union Houlin Zhao ITU and president of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende.
Commenting on the initiative, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha said: "We are joining hands together towards a commitment to drive consensus on digital cooperation to make sure that we seize an opportunity for our youth, our women and our entrepreneurs with the ambition to grow our combined digital economy to one trillion dollars in the next 3-5 years."
"Our future prosperity will depend on the digital economy. But it can only reach its full potential if we are able to make governments work together collectively with businesses, and entrepreneurs so they can survive and thrive, expand their depth into current markets and open doors for everyone into new ones."
The launch of the DCO follows the conclusion of Saudi Arabia's G20 presidency to maintain the Kingdom's momentum on accelerating the growth of the digital economy across the region and the globe, as nations everywhere increase their adoption of remote learning, telemedicine and contact-less economic systems to survive and thrive beyond the social and economic impact of COVID-19.
‘'This is a critical step towards ensuring that our digital economies are innovative and future-proof,'' Ahmad Hanandeh, Jordan's Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, said. ‘'To create sustainable change, we cannot work in silos; this is a collective and global collaboration. This is where our digital journeys intersect and we can learn from and support one another, which will, in turn, open doors for our youth and sectors to benefit from these efforts.''
Based on its digitally-focused charter, the DCO welcomes participation and guidance from the private sector, international organizations, non-government organizations and the academic world.
"Bahrain is pleased to be part of such a dynamic initiative and a founding member of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO). We thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this initiative and are confident that the DCO will enable members to respond and adapt in an agile and swift manner to the ever-changing digital scene, Bahrain's Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications said.
"As we have taken steps at a national level to leverage ICT technologies to enhance government efficiency and processes, the Kingdom of Bahrain also believes that fostering regional and international collaboration is a valuable extension to our national efforts."
The founding members of the DCO have joined forces to establish the organization motivated by their shared interests concerning the digital economy that can only be realized through collaboration.
"We believe that the DCO will offer Kuwait a great opportunity to further develop its national digital agenda as well as to further progress the global digital agenda," Salim Al-Ozainah, Chairman and CEO of Kuwait's Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority, said.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi added: "Pakistan is privileged to be a founding member of the Digital Cooperation Organization and to work closely with our partners to guide and lead a global digital agenda."
Speaking on the occasion, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Omar Sultan Al Olama, commented: "We congratulate Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and the people of Saudi Arabia for launching the Digital Cooperation Organization, and we praise this step in progressing digital transformation, which will support the broader technology sector."
"The adoption of both emerging and advanced technologies around the world will support global efforts in creating a sustainable and bright future for all of humanity". — SG


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