Creativity and vitality needed for economic recovery

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic credit: www.huawei.com

SUPPORTIVE government policies and active digital transformation across the industry are crucial to bring the benefits of digital technology to all industries to restore growth after being battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd corporate senior VP and director of the board Catherine Chen (picture) pointed out that the government’s trade and investment policies are vital to economic recovery and employment.

“Telecommunication regulators across many nations and industries must work together to address the shared challenges that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and create a more inclusive future for all.

“To revive the economy, we need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality,” Chen said during her keynote speech at the Better World Summit 2020 held online yesterday.

In China, the New Infrastructure plan has set aside over US$140 billion (RM594 billion) to be invested in 5G alone over the next five years. This is expected to grow China’s digital economy by more than US$2 trillion and boost domestic economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has also announced a €1.1 trillion (RM5.5 trillion) package to enhance economic recovery.

Covid-19 has been a stern reminder that we are still not doing enough. The current foundation of development is not as strong as we might think, she added.

“According to the International Telecommunication Union, over half of the world’s population is still offline and has no access to digital technology.

“Children in remote areas have been unable to join online classes during the pandemic. National economies have also been badly hit, with unemployment at the highest levels since the Great Depression,” she said.

Chen stressed that every industry must work hard to transform digitally because digital technology can bring huge benefits in efficiency and renewed growth.

She said during the pandemic, the healthcare industry has worked closely with the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

“At a time when doctors are limited, our artificial intelligence-assisted CT scan solution greatly increases the speed of diagnoses.

“Another example is from the logistics sector. The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, which is the world’s busiest cargo port, uses 5G to remotely control bridge cranes which allows containers to be moved more quickly and creates a safer working environment,” she explained.

As digital technology becomes more widely used across industries, digital technology and ICT infrastructure become critical, many countries are very concerned about digital sovereignty.

“The EU responded first by reviewing digital sovereignty rules. We greatly support their rule-based approach to digital sovereignty, and we are ready to contribute in this area,” she said.

A recent World Bank report highlights the huge gap between the fast-growing global digital economy and a lack of digital skills. In response, Huawei continues to carry out its flagship Seeds for the Future programme.

This programme was launched in 2008, and intends to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge sharing and promote a greater understanding of an interest in the ICT industry.

“So far, this programme has benefitted more than 30,000 students from over 400 universities in 108 countries and regions.

“Due to the pandemic, we are moving the programme online and opening it up to more students than ever before. Through Seeds for the Future, we aim to bring digital skills to more people,” she added.