- ‘Africa’s countries have placed industrialisation on top of its 2060 Agenda’ – H.E. Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, President of Mauritania
- ‘We must do more to close the digital divide’ – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
- ‘Real recovery requires resilience’ – H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and GMIS Co-Chair
- ‘Technological development and industrialisation go hand in hand with poverty eradication, better standards of living, and social mobility’ – H.E. Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO and GMIS Co-Chair
- ‘We have to resort to new forms of collaboration, remove the barriers that exist in our minds, and embrace technology as we move towards a connected society’ – Badr Al-Olama, Head of GMIS Organising Committee
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Humanity must come together to enact change to create a world that is more sustainable, inherently inclusive, and relentlessly resilient in a new global age characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change – and digital technologies are crucial to our ability to do so.
That was the message of Badr Al-Olama, Head of the Organising Committee of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2021), during his keynote speech on the opening day of the two-day event taking place at Expo 2020. He compared the impact of COVID-19 to that of the aftermath of the two world wars, and issued a call to arms to meet these challenges.
“We have to weigh up powerful means like digital technologies to assist us with transformation,” he said. “We have to resort to new forms of collaboration, remove the barriers that exist in our minds, and embrace technology as we move towards a connected society, where everyone – and everything – works in tandem. To reach such a dispensation is going to require leadership of extraordinary quality.”
The themes of collaboration and resilience were echoed by H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and GMIS Co-Chair, during his keynote address. He outlined the challenges faced by the industrial and trade sector over the course of COVID-19, and what is now required to renew growth and spur opportunity. “For industry leaders, the lesson of the post-pandemic recovery is clear: Real recovery requires resilience,” he said, adding that industrial progress “depends on smart partnerships”.
“As the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary,” he concluded, “our leadership has issued a blueprint for prosperity for the next 50 years. It is our guide to building a dynamic, world-leading economy. And at the core of that blueprint is partnership. No economy exists in a vacuum – and we know that progress is faster when people work together. In that spirit, I invite all of you to partner with the UAE. Together, we can reinforce our collective resilience, we can all succeed and help bring prosperity to the world.”
During an address that focused on the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation in Africa, H.E. Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, President of Mauritania, asserted the combined will of the continent’s nations to drive industrial development.
“Africa’s countries have placed industrialisation on top of its 2060 Agenda, and now exert immense efforts in order to have diversified, competitive industries through ambitious programmes to improve the supporting infrastructure of transportation, communications, and new technologies. This is the will of Africa: to win in the field of industry and capitalise on new technologies.”
In a special video address from New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out a similar challenge: the growing digital divide that has opened up between the global North and South. “COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of digitalisation in increasing business resilience and competitiveness and safeguarding essential value chains,” he said. “But it has also made clear that we must do more to strengthen global digital capacity and close the digital divide. UNIDO has found that just 10 economies around the world account for around 90% of advanced technology patents.
“Digital tech can propel the central economy and address climate risks, but it requires partnerships to support climate finance, more robust commitment to decarbonising, innovation ecosystems, and greater investment in digital infrastructure.”
Joining on video from Vienna, H.E. Li Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and GMIS Co-Chair, used his address to bid farewell to his role with the United Nations body and reflect on the importance of GMIS to the industrial and technological development of all nations, citing smart manufacturing facilities in Morocco and Ethiopia as an example.
“Throughout history, technological development and industrialisation have gone hand in hand with poverty eradication, better standards of living, and social mobility. This is why inclusive and sustainable industrialisation is part of Goal 9 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is clear multi-stakeholder partnerships are key to unlocking the challenges that lie before us.”
Hosted by Taif Al Amiri, Director of Government Communication at the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), the opening ceremony drew the participation of John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and H.E. Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia.
Running from 22 to 23 November at Dubai Exhibition Centre, #GMIS2021 has brought together world leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society to explore the leading technological, industrial, and policy trends that will shape the post-pandemic response to forge a more sustainable future for all.
The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) was established in 2015 to build bridges between manufacturers, governments and NGOs, technologists, and investors in harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) transformation of manufacturing to enable the regeneration of the global economy. A joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), GMIS is a global platform that presents stakeholders with an opportunity to shape the future of the manufacturing sector and contribute towards global good by advancing some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The first two editions of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit were held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in March 2017, and Yekaterinburg, Russia in July 2019, respectively, with each edition welcoming over 3,000 high-level delegates from over 40 countries. The third edition, GMIS2020, was held virtually in September 2020 and convened over 10,000 attendees and close to 100 thought-provoking leaders from governments, businesses, and civil society.
GMIS2021, the fourth edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, will be held once again in the United Arab Emirates from November 22 to 27, alongside EXPO Dubai, under the theme – Rewiring Societies: Repurposing Digitalisation for Prosperity.