• “4IR technologies are helping to cut emissions, water and material consumption, optimising waste management,” says H.E. Abdulla Shahid
  • H.E. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila: “The need to use digital platform didn’t only come with the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was amplified by it.”
  • H.E. Matteo Renzi added: “With good leadership, you had very good answers to the pandemic, with bad leadership you risked too much.”
  • H.E. Dominique de Villepin said: “Technology must always deal with the question of trust. We cannot impose technology on people without their consent.”

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Developed nations have a responsibility to assist the technological advancement of more vulnerable nations to enhance their connectivity and capacity to innovate, while also helping them transition to greener economies.

The call came from His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly, during the second day of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2021). Speaking at the outset of a session titled “Government of the future: A new roadmap to global prosperity,” Shahid highlighted the stark discrepancies in technological capacity between the global north and south, which has exacerbated the challenges faced by developing nations in their attempts to recover from the pandemic.

In what he described as his “presidency of hope”, the UNGA President said, “I will do my utmost to ensure that we not only recover better and sustainably, but we do so equitably with no one left behind.

“Covid-19 caused massive disruption in manufacturing and supply chains,” His Excellency continued, “but this was on the horizon before Covid-19 and was mainly driven by the fourth industrial revolution, climate change, and the reconfiguration of globalisation.

“The good news is 4IR technologies are playing a major role when it comes to cutting emissions, water and material consumption and the optimisation of waste management.

“I call upon countries to invest in climate-friendly technologies that will spur recovery efforts by respecting out planet’s health and share these technologies with developing countries,” he said.

In the panel discussion that followed, the themes of equitable development and the role of technology was picked up by Her Excellency Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia. She highlighted the issue of delivering government services in a vast country of just 2.5 million people and how technology can provide both a solution and a challenge.

“For Namibia, the need to use digital platform didn’t only come with the Covid-19 pandemic, maybe it was amplified by it because we went into lockdown, so we needed to provide services online. But it’s huge country of 824,000 sq. km and quite expensive to reach out to communities wherever they are with government services. We had already decided to automate government services to improve government administration,” said H.E. Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

For His Excellency Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy, the Covid-19 pandemic provided a stress-test for governments and for health systems – and that in many countries in the world, especially those considered liberal democracies, they were found wanting. “Don’t believe people that say the leadership is the same everywhere, no. With good leadership, you have very good answers to the pandemic, with bad leadership you risk too much.”

He did, though, see the positives from the last year and a half – and that technology can emerge as a driver. “I think it’s important we use new technology with a different approach,” he said. “I joke a lot of time that my generation use the mobile as a phone. Then then we arrive with a phone used for pictures, for video, for surfing the internet. The new generation use the device not with a click, but with a zoom. They enlarge the screen and understand well what has happened.

“That’s my final message from this pandemic, we have to pass from click to zoom. Manufacturing 5.0, new technology, these new ideas are the future of my country – and they could be helped by Covid. Covid was a tragedy that destroyed a lot of life, but we could come back stronger than before.”

Finally, His Excellency Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France, touched upon how technology has immense potential for governments, but in Western societies, trust and consensus is a huge component that needs to be respected.

“The citizen in liberal democracies do have a say. And they must be a part of the decision-making process. And that’s where technology must always deal with the question of trust. We cannot impose technology on people without their consent. They need to understand why it is being applied. You need to be able to discuss and convince.”

Under the theme “Rewiring Societies: Repurposing Digitalisation for Prosperity,” the second day of #GMIS2021 jump-started with great success, bringing together key global leaders from government, business, and civil society to discuss how data and connectivity are shaping the future of the manufacturing sector.

About GMIS:

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.