Digitalisation will be a key factor to boost shared prosperity: Al Tayer - GulfToday

Digitalisation will be a key factor to boost shared prosperity: Al Tayer


Obaid Humaid Al Tayer chaired the virtual Arab Governors’ meeting. WAM

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, chaired the virtual Arab Governors’ meeting within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG)’s Annual Meetings 2020.

David Malpass, President of the WGB, Dr Mirza Hassan, Executive Director of the Arab Group at the WBG, and several governors and ministers of the WBG Arab Group member states attended the meeting.

In his opening remarks, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer praised the WBG’s efforts in taking quick and appropriate measures to limit the repercussions of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also stressed the importance of these meetings, as they are a leading platform to exchange of experiences in the fields of government financial work and financial and economic policies, and to discuss views on the latest economic and social developments at regionally and globally.

He said: “the G20, under the Presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and with the support of the World Bank and the IMF, were swift and effective in implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). We realise that there is a need for an extension of the DSSI, therefore it is imperative that the private sector participate in this initiative, as well. Currently, private sector accounts for over 40% of the long-term debt within DSSI participants. Therefore, a collective and comprehensive effort is required to achieve a successful and sustainable solution.”

He added: “Digitalization will be a key factor in fighting poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and we are confident that the World Bank can be a key partner in supporting our region in its transition to the next phase of digitalization.”

He noted that in the pursuit of leveraging technology to the betterment of the region, the UAE has reached an agreement with the World Bank to establish a technological hub in Abu Dhabi. The objective of the hub is to support the MENA region, through building the necessary infrastructure, setting best practices and governance guidelines, and strengthening capacity and human capital.

He said: “This pandemic has disproportionally impacted women, most of whom are either employed by the informal sector, hold less secure jobs, or earn less. At only 20% in 2019, women participation in the labour force in MENA is less than half of that of the world. It is safe to assume that this rate has experienced a drop as a result of the pandemic. We, therefore, hope that the Bank tackle this issue urgently, through mainstreaming women employment in its programs, and replicating initiatives such as the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi), in which the UAE had the pleasure of participating.”

Al Tayer also noted that the World Bank, through its Jobs and Economic Transformation strategy can be an important driver of job creation and labour market growth. Such can be achieved through the operationalization of the JET agenda, which can entail mainstreaming it into the Bank’s operations and lending instruments.

The UAE, represented by the Ministry of Finance, participates yearly in the IMF and WBG annual meetings, in the context of positioning the country as a leading global centre to support sustainable social and economic development, and to strengthen fiscal policies that support growth at the international level.

The G20 tourism ministers on Wednesday reviewed efforts to rebuild and boost the tourism field, one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the meeting, chaired by Saudi Arabia, also discussed the contribution of the tourism field to sustainable development and to further support international economy, due to the number of job opportunities it provides.

The ministers hailed the progress made during Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the group, and the Kingdom’s efforts to create a safe travel experience, as well as its commitment to pledges made to tackle issues imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism is expected to drop by 60 to 80 per cent during 2020 due to the coronavirus, the ministers said, adding that they are working with authorities to ease traveling restrictions to promote tourism. They highlighted the importance of developing digital abilities of very small, small and medium companies in the tourism industry, allowing them to contribute further to the field.

The UAE stressed its commitment to supporting the global efforts to promote the tourism sector and ensure a safe travel experience, as well as to the international recommendations related to the response to the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. The country made this statement while participating in a remote meeting of G20 Ministers of Tourism, represented by Dr Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, SMEs.


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