Technology proves greatest enabler of COVID-19 stricken G20 in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: The virtual world has enabled Saudi Arabia to continue in its presidency of the G20, despite damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Abdullah Alswaha has said.

Speaking in an interview with Chinese state television CGTN, Alswaha said the Kingdom had become a leading force in empowering the world with digitalization  as well as increasing the importance of boosting equal job opportunities and increasing digital market access for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Alswaha, who is also the chairman of the G20 Digital Economy Task Force said the Saudi G20 Presidency had been able to keep its work going by moving to secure virtual environments.

This he said allowed the swift and unprecedented action the G20 could agree on to tackle COVID-19 including $21bn for health systems, more than $11tr injected into the global economy and $14bn for the most vulnerable countries in the world at their time of greatest need.

“After COVID-19 hit us, there’s only one truth in life right now, which is that undoubtedly digitalization is the largest social equalizer and an economic multiplier, and this is going to be the fuel that would help us achieve further consensus,” he said.

He also highlighted how members were able to develop a common framework for measuring and assessing the digital economy under the G20 Saudi Presidency.

“Our ability to dissect what does that digital economy look like; where can we focus for the highest GDP and jobs and local content impact to make sure that no one is left behind; has been such a remarkable achievement for us. We are very proud that we finally drove consensus, and we linked it all together as G20 nations.”

Speaking on Thursday, Abdullah AlGhamdi, the President of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority and chairman of the organizing committee of the Global AI Summit said: “Hosting over 170 virtual G20 meetings over the past months, we demonstrated how we can leverage technology to overcome even the most challenging barriers and keep up the momentum of global collaboration on the world’s most pressing issues.”

And he added: “This year we launched an ambitious national strategy for data and AI focusing on socioeconomic and human development with a clear objective to transform Saudi Arabia’s workforce with a steady local supply of Data and AI-empowered talents, and to enact the most welcoming legislations for Data and AI talents.”

By 2030 the Saudi government aims to have trained 40 percent of the relevant workforce on data and AI, to have over 20,000 data and AI specialists, and create up to 40,000 direct and indirect jobs related to data and AI.

Lohit Soundarajan

Founder , Editor Tech Guy #Voxguy

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