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| 13 February, 2018

Dubai highlighted as prime example of innovative city

A panel from prominent international financial institutions discussed science, technology and innovation in regional development

Emirati men perform outside the Gevora Hotel, the world's tallest hotel, in Dubai, UAE February 12, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Emirati men perform outside the Gevora Hotel, the world's tallest hotel, in Dubai, UAE February 12, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Satish Kumar

On the opening day of the sixth edition of the World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai, a session with five expert panellists examined the role of STI in driving sustainable development and economic growth.

Part of the newly launched Global Policy Platform (GPP), the session, entitled ‘STI Catalysing Regional Development’, shed light on the role of innovation, scaled up public-private partnerships (PPPs) and tailored capacities in enabling countries to advance their development objectives.

The panel included Sayed Aqa, Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Sergei Guriev, Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Alexander Stubb, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Sir Danny Alexander, Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and Alexandre Meira da Rosa, Vice President for Countries at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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“This region was the hub of innovation for centuries, and it’s coming back – Dubai is the perfect example. STI is nothing new, but the main challenge is now to establish mechanisms, platforms and procedures for doing business more efficiently. Many innovations in development sprout from poor communities, but due to lack of financing, they never get implemented. To better serve these initiatives, we have to shift our mindsets and adopt both top-down and bottom-up approaches to better incorporate ideas from these communities, as well as from youth and students,” said Aqa.

Set to become an international hub for high-level policymaking discussions, the Global Policy Platform (GPP) is an initiative of the World Government Summit. This year’s topics include trade and globalisation, government innovation, FinTech, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, education, and economic policies. The GPP is organised in collaboration with the world’s leading international organisations including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organisation, and the World Health Organisation.

“As an institution working mostly in middle-income countries, we have no doubt that the only way forward is with STI – by investing in STI and education and partnering with the private sector. Even with all the capital we represent from our various institutions, we cannot achieve all the goals of the 2030 Agenda alone, hence we need to scale innovations as well as partner more effectively with the private sector,” said Guriev.

Stubb added that in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda, currently $2.3 trillion is required. International financial institutions cannot do it alone—they need to partner with the private sector to better adapt to this modern world, embrace technologies in financing, and create the proper platforms to fill the current gap in finance.

“As financial institutions, we have a responsibility to identify the most important technologies and properly utilise them to further advance renewable energy and sustainable cities. It’s not all about giving money; it’s about collaborating together and incorporating innovative projects,” added Alexander.

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organisations.

Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialised global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.  

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