Saudi Arabia and four other countries have jointly launched the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) aimed at strengthening cooperation and accelerating the development of the digital economy.
The Kingdom joined Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan to launch the DCO on Thursday in an event attended by representatives from the World Economic Forum and ITU.
The organization will work with the private sector, international organizations and academia to help achieve a global digital transformation.
The launch followed Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency, in which moving toward digital economy was one of the areas of focus, spurred by an increase in telemedicine, remote learning, and contactless systems in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Amer Al-Swaha.
“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,” he added.
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The DCO lists four strategic goals and objectives on its website:
• Accelerate the growth of the digital economy collectively across all DCO members
• Advance DCO members’ digital transformation (strategies, plans, ambitions)
• Strengthen welfare and social stability inclusively across the DCO digital environment
• Strengthen the collective effort of DCO members in the global digital economy
International Telecommunication Union Houlin Zhao lauded Saudi Arabia's G20 presidency for the initiative and praised the move toward greater cooperation.
In this Decade of Action on #GlobalGoals, ICTs are key to #BuildBackBetter for a safer, more connected + sustainable world where everyone can have access to digital technologies+services that are safe, attractive, and affordable.— ITU Secretary-General (@ITUSecGen) November 26, 2020
Congrats to Saudi Arabia for its DCO initiative! pic.twitter.com/RcRUWK4C1u
Describing the launch as a “critical step,” Jordan’s Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh also praised the DCO’s focus on collaboration.
“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,” he said.
On Twitter, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed the initiative.
At a time when the global digital economy is worth over 11T dollars & growing, creation of #DCO and 🇵🇰 joining as founding member propels us into future of cooperation & unity in digital economy. Congratulations to 🇸🇦 and H.E @aalswaha for this historic initiative. #VisionFO pic.twitter.com/STLz73Xddb— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) November 26, 2020
Bahrain’s relevant minister also thanked Saudi Arabia for the initiative.
“The Kingdom of 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,” said Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed.