Multilateral Collaboration Essential to Bridging the Digital Economic Divide, says DCO Report
- Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) launches Bridging the Gap report to highlight the importance of international cooperation to ensure digital prosperity for all
Davos, Switzerland, 19 January 2023 – The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO)today launched the Bridging the Gap Reportduring the World Economic Forum in Davos, highlighting the critical need for greater international, multilateral cooperation to close the digital divide and ensure all nations can benefit from digital economies.
The report draws on an extensive global consultation with experts from multiple sectors and regions, which was undertaken by the DCOas part of its mission toachieve social prosperity and growth of the digital economy by unifying efforts to advance and promote interest in the digital economy.Included in the report is an in-depth look at the challenges facing multiple stakeholders to gain equal opportunitiesin thedigital economy, and a review of some of the initiatives that willhelp to bridge the digital divide.
HE Deemah AlYahya, DCO Secretary-General, commented on the report: “Over the past two decades, the digital economy has grown at an unprecedented rate to become the backbone of our societies and an essential part of achieving sustainable development. With the abundance of opportunities, however, the digital economy also brings formidable challenges, and it is critical to realize that these challenges can’t be addressed by any one nation or private entity alone. Only through multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation can we address the challenges, make the most of the opportunities, and create a more inclusive and effective digital economy.
“The Bridging the Gap Report was commissioned by the DCO to highlight how cooperation among all stakeholders in the public and private sector, enterprises and SMEs, civil society and academia will be critical to overcome the challenges of the digital economy including global data flows and privacy, data sovereignty, regulations, markets, innovation, sustainability, and other factors that may hinder future economic growth,” AlYahya added.
The report was compiled from a diverse range of original research and conversations, including a unique series of five round tables in five cities – Bangkok, Brussels, Kigali, New York, and Santiago –on five continents, which brought together over 300 experts in development and technology to discuss the digital divide. A new survey of 1,000 businesses and consumers from 12 countries was conducted, as well as interviews with 37 digital economy experts and knowledge reviews of existing publications.
The Bridging the Gap report examines the barriers to more equitable digital transformation around the world – and how better cooperation can overcome these barriers to ensure more societies can take advantage of the burgeoning digital economy and create better opportunities for employment. The World Bank estimates that raising internet penetration to 75% in the developing world would increase global GDP by $2 trillion and create 140 million jobs around the world.Over half of the respondents in the proprietary survey of 750 people in 12 countries around the world agreed that better access to digital technologies would help them find higher-paying jobs or start their own businesses.
The report also sheds light on the multiple bottlenecks to be overcome for the equitable and sustainable development of the digital economy. Existing issues such as lack of investment, access to capital, and regulation,lack of internet access and adoption, and lack of technology skills,are some of the main challenges to digital inclusion, all of which will be crucial to solve for nationsto be empoweredand drive their own digital economies.
“Bridging the Digital Gap is intended to be a valuable information resource on the digital economy to guide our member nations as they develop their own digital economies. In addition to information, advocacy, and advisory services for member states, DCO is committed to building a more inclusive digital economy through effective multilateral cooperation to co-create and co-design impact-driven initiatives. We are calling on all stakeholders to come together and collaborate to create a digital economy that works for everyone, everywhere,” said HE Deemah AlYahya.
The DCO Bridging the Gap report is available to download from the following link: https://www.dcoinsights.com/BTG/
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The DCO is a global multilateral organization founded in November 2020 that aims to enable digital prosperity for all by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy. The DCO brings together the Ministries of Communications and IT of 11 nations – Bahrain, Cyprus, Djibouti, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Jordan, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia – that collectively represent nearly $2 trillion in GDP and a market of nearly 600 million people, more than 70% of whom are under the age of 35.
The DCO is focused on empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs, leveraging the accelerative power of the digital economy and leapfrogging with innovation to drive economic growth and increase social prosperity. Through cooperation, dialogue, and the creation of mutually advantageous cross-border legislation, we seek to establish within our member nations the optimal infrastructure and policies for the rapid creation of inclusive and equitable digital economies within which all people, businesses, and societies can innovate and thrive.
In pursuit of our members’ common interests – for example, in the areas of digital skills training, data protection, intellectual copyright, regulation, taxation and entrepreneurship – DCO works collaboratively with governments, the private sector, international organizations, NGOs and civil society to enable more inclusive digital transformation and the growth of digital industries.
The DCO’s key initiatives include programs to enhance cross-border data flows, promote market expansion for SMEs, empower digital entrepreneurs and advance digital inclusion among women and youth and other underrepresented populations.