Saudi initiative: DCO to boost economies of 5 founding countries

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RIYADH: Digital experts are singing the praises of the newly formed multinational Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO).
Founded by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan, the DCO is driven by the vision of a digital future for all by empowering women, young people and entrepreneurs, expanding the digital economy and leapfrogging with innovation.
Senior government officials from the five nations came together on Thursday to launch the DCO, motivated by their shared interests in the digital economy that can only be realized through collaboration.
Speaking to Arab News on inception of the DCO, Pakistan’s Ambassador Raja Ali Ejaz said: “For Pakistan, with a talented and well-trained pool of human resources, the DCO presents a unique opportunity for rapid progress in all spheres of life,” Ejaz said.
“Pakistan has joined the Digital Cooperation Organisation as a founding member and acknowledges the initiative of Saudi Arabia. Pakistan considers it an important step in post COVID-19 economic recovery of the founding countries,” said the envoy.
The DCO provides a platform to harness the strengths of participating countries such as skilled manpower and infrastructure resources to create a flourishing digital economy, he said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the Saudi minister of communication and information technology, Abdullah Al-Swaha, in making the DCO a reality and has extended full cooperation, said the ambassador.
Muhammad Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University and founder CEO of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research in  Washington, DC, said: “The launch of the DCO in this unprecedented time is a great strategic decision of five nations.
“With the mission of achieving prosperity, socioeconomic development, and implementing digital transformation, the countries setting up the DCO aspire to become leading digital economies in the world which is commendable.”
He added: “It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent. This provides the DCO with a great opportunity to build a platform for their tech-savvy youth, women, entrepreneurs, and indigenous industry to flourish and compete with their global contemporaries and boost their digital competitiveness.”
He said the DCO hopes to work with intergovernmental agencies, think tanks, public and private sectors, global tech companies, civil society, and academic institutions.
Through this initiative, the member states could establish solid cooperation in the emerging fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, IoT, big data, 5G, cloud computing, and blockchain, Khan said. He explained that the aspirations, opportunities, and vulnerabilities of digital economies are deeply interconnected, which would require the DCO to map out innovative strategies and initiatives that directly affect their populations in a positive way.
In addition, member states can harness their expertise and share experience to strengthen efforts for preparing for global crises such as COVID-19, he said.
Lastly, he said, it is very important to extend the membership of the DCO and include more active members from different regions who share the same interests and the mission for a prosperous digital future.

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