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Nations Sign First Agreement to Unlock Potential of Emerging Tech

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The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought economic and social disruption worldwide. As people and businesses focus on recovery, governments must ensure that innovation which will power economic growth and solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges is not held back by outdated regulations.

Speaking at a panel organized by the World Economic Forum and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ministers from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom announced their plan to lead the world in fostering responsible innovation and entrepreneurship. The Agile Nations Charter sets out each country’s commitment to creating a regulatory environment in which new ideas can thrive.

In a world first, the agreement paves the way for the nations to cooperate in helping innovators navigate each country’s rules, test new ideas with regulators and scale them across the seven markets. Priority areas for cooperation include the green economy, mobility, data, financial and professional services, and medical diagnosis and treatment.

The collaboration is a result of the World Economic Forum’s project on Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which supports regulators around the globe respond to technological innovation. In conjunction with this project:

“Too often, rules and laws are designed with the past in mind,” said Murat Sönmez, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. “Our Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution help governments, businesses and citizens co-design for the future – enabling the innovation that will be needed to create jobs, maintain competitiveness and ensure resilience to shocks. We’re excited to work with the new Agile Nations network.”

“Against a backdrop of a once-in-a-century global health and economic crisis, governments need to undertake a paradigm shift in their rule-making activities,” said Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD. “To help governments navigate the challenges and develop more agile approaches to the regulatory governance of innovation, the OECD is developing principles on effective and innovation-friendly rulemaking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Agile Nations network is an extremely timely initiative to truly foster international regulatory cooperation for better, innovation-friendly and up-to-date regulations worldwide.”

“The UK has a proud history of entrepreneurship and discovery, but it is only by working together internationally that we can truly unleash the incredible potential of new technology,” said Martin Callanan, Business Minister, United Kingdom. “The Agile Nations will boost collaboration to remove regulatory barriers, ensuring innovators and entrepreneurs can market and scale their innovations across all seven nations involved, and I urge other countries to join this important initiative.”

“Canada’s endorsement of the Agile Nations agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating a regulatory environment where innovation can flourish and our respective businesses can be more efficient and competitive globally,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board of Canada. “Canada is ready to play its part in sharing ideas and best practices on agile regulation.”

“As an international company, Siemens has always supported cross-border collaboration,” said Torsten Ende, Head of Government Affairs, Siemens. “Cross-border collaboration of regulators is the best way to avoid unnecessary divergence that could hamper innovation and to ensure future-oriented cooperation and technology with purpose. The proposed Agile Nations network, which fosters cooperation on rule-making, is a great step in the right direction.”

“Regulatory agility, strong business-government partnerships and constructive international regulatory co-operation are key in enabling innovation and helping businesses to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Low Yen Ling, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore. “Singapore looks forward to working closely with the Agile Nations network to strengthen collaboration in agile regulation to enable businesses and emerging innovations to rapidly scale up, offer new solutions and drive greater growth.”

“We fully support this Agile Nations network as an initiative to promote international cooperation regarding the concept of ‘governance innovation’ agreed at the 2019 G20 Ministerial Meeting held in Japan. We are happy to share our experiences and knowledge about innovative governance, including projects of the Digital Architecture Design Centre established this year,” said Kouichi Munekiyo, Parliamentary Vice-Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

“IBM is pleased to support the Agile Nations initiative,” said Christopher Padilla, Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, IBM. “Even as new breakthroughs in technology are creating immense opportunities and improving economic and social well-being, these innovations are challenging traditional models of regulation. Promoting agile governance is a key mechanism for ensuring we reap technology’s benefits while mitigating risks. The Agile Nations Charter is an important step in fostering the international cooperation necessary to delivering on the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“The creation of the Agile Nations network is a welcome development for technology innovators,” said Diana Paredes, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Suade Labs. “Regulation that is designed for the past and a lack of coordination between regulators is particularly burdensome for innovative start-ups and SMEs. We are excited about this initiative and hopeful that it will encourage diversity and creativity from a wide range of innovators in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Sperimentazione Italia (Italy Experimentation) allows companies, universities and research institutions to experiment with frontier innovations so that disruptive innovations’ opportunities are not missed. The time is ready to extend and apply the testing of ‘agile regulation’ within the international cooperation among countries,” said Paola Pisano, Minister of Technological Innovation, Italy.

“Facebook welcomes the ‘Agile Nations’ initiative and the commitment to foster cooperation on innovative regulatory practices. We agree with the need for more agile governance of emerging technologies as a collaborative approach involving governments, academia, civil society and industry. To complement this initiative, we will be launching a cross-cutting call for research proposals on different methodological approaches to rulemaking,” said Markus Reinisch, VP, Public Policy EMEA, Facebook.

“The UAE government is proud to endorse the Agile Nations network, which would help adopt agile governance and innovation to build strong, capable and resilient governments, and enable them to tackle future challenges with proactive solutions,” said Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, United Arab Emirates.

“New technologies can accelerate the transition to a more green and sustainable society,” said Katrine Winding, Director-General, Danish Business Authority. “However, regulatory and other barriers currently prevent start-ups and innovative SMEs in particular from bringing their ideas to market. Through innovation-friendly regulation we will support the testing and development of new solutions, ensure equal competition and protect our citizens and the environment. This is no simple task. Denmark looks forward to addressing key challenges through the Agile Nations network.”

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Earth Observation Data Could Represent A Billion-Dollar Opportunity For Africa

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Earth observation [EO] data provides a billion-dollar opportunity for economies on the African continent, one that could create jobs and build new resilience after COVID-19.

The newly released report Unlocking the Potential of Earth Observation to address Africa’s critical challenges lays out the multiple economic benefits from EO data. The report was written in collaboration with Digital Earth Africa, an initiative that is a world first in providing freely accessible data that maps the entire African continent.

This report marks the first known time the potential impact of EO for Africa has been quantified. According to estimates, EO could be worth up to $2 billion a year thanks to:

1. A strengthened EO industry. Improved use of EO data could lead to an extra $500 million in yearly EO sales along with new job opportunities and increased fiscal revenues.

2. Boosted agricultural productivity. Better data could potentially be worth an extra $900 million a year, thanks to water savings and productivity gains for farmers, not to mention reduced pesticide usage.

3. Better regulation of gold mining activity. Data allows countries to crack down on illegal mining, providing a potential savings of at least $900 million from reduced environmental damage and fiscal evasion.

The report shows the opportunity available in EO data to strengthen economies and reach sustainability goals. EO data can help governments make more informed decisions regarding water, agriculture, food security and urbanization. Advancing new collaborations between public and private efforts can incentivize data sharing to develop EO industries on the continent even further.

Dr Adam Lewis, Managing Director of the Digital Earth Program welcomes the findings of the report as the first of its kind to quantify the potential benefits of the program. “Through collaboration with key partners both within Africa and across the globe, we have made significant progress in turning this potential into a reality. Over the last 12 months the program has met a number of milestones in improving access to data and services within Africa. Working with Amazon Web Services as well as international space agencies and the private sector, we have been able to provide access to locally stored analysis-ready satellite data within Africa.” Adam said.

“We are proud to support Digital Earth Africa’s efforts to make Earth observation data more easily accessible to African nations,” said Ana Pinheiro Privette, Lead for Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative. “Through the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, Amazon is making available petabytes of Earth observation data, which provide valuable insights for communities to manage climate impacts including increased floods and droughts.”

Valuing the impact of EO is an emerging practice globally, with recent reports covering the Asia Pacific, Australia, the European Union and the UK, but this is the first such report for Africa. The report was developed following examination of the readiness of African countries to effectively and efficiently grow their geospatial capabilities, integrated with study of the potential economic benefit of EO data adoption on specific sustainable development focus areas.

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Data-Driven Operations Are Key to Future of Manufacturing

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In the near future, manufacturing companies will collaborate in hyperconnected value networks in which data-and-analytics applications drive productivity, new customer experiences and societal and environmental impact. A new white paper, Data Excellence: Transforming Manufacturing and Supply Systems, released today presents the challenges for manufacturers and provides the steps to overcome them.

According to the report, nearly three-quarters of 1,300 surveyed manufacturing executives consider advanced analytics to be critical for success and more important today than three years ago. However, only a few companies capture the full value that data and analytics can unlock to address manufacturers’ most pressing challenges. Less than 20% of surveyed participants prioritize advanced analytics to promote either short-term cost reductions or longer-term structural cost improvements. Only 39% have managed to scale data-driven use cases beyond the production process of a single product and thus achieve a clearly positive business case.

Surveyed manufacturers cited various challenges that impeded their efforts to further scale and implement data-and-analytics solutions within their plants and across networks:

  • They struggle to prioritize the right value-adding use cases from a broad range of applications
  • They have not put in place technological enablers, such as data security or advanced algorithms
  • They lack critical organizational enablers, such as skills and capabilities and effective internal governance

This study by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), features insights from a unique community of 40+ manufacturing organizations and leading academics and public sector representatives, identifying six priorities to capture value from data and analytics in manufacturing:

  • Define a data-to-value strategy and roadmap
  • Incentivize internal and external ecosystem partners
  • Build capabilities to capture and use data
  • Implement an open platform to unlock data silos
  • Enable connectivity for low-latency, high-bandwidth data flows
  • Ensure data security and privacy

“These findings will help accelerate our journey to support companies in devising a path forward to reach the next level of data-based manufacturing excellence, build trust among manufacturing, suppliers and customers, and unlock new value through the development of new data-driven ecosystems,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at the World Economic Forum.

“Manufacturing is on the verge of a data‑driven revolution,” said Daniel Küpper, Managing Director and Partner of BCG and a report co-author. “But many companies have become disillusioned because they lack the technological backbone required to effectively scale data-and-analytics applications. Establishing these prerequisites will be critical to success in the post-pandemic world.”

As a next step, the community is co-developing a Manufacturing Data Excellence Framework, which comprises value-adding applications as well as technological and organizational success factors. Companies will be able to leverage this framework to accelerate the development of globally connected manufacturing data ecosystems.

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World Bank Group and CES Announce Global Tech Challenge Winners

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image: ces.tech

World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge at CES®2021.

The result of a partnership between the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the World Bank Group, the Global Tech Challenge was launched at CES 2020 to reward scalable and innovative technological solutions in three main areas: digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world. Technology solutions that helped communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic were also prioritized.

Selected among over 1,000 applications, three winners were selected for gender equality, 10 for resilience and 17 for digital health. More details about the selected innovations can be accessed here for health, resilience and gender equality.

Global Tech Challenge winners will have the opportunity to access financial and/or technical assistance to pilot and scale their solutions on the ground with private sector companies, governments and within development projects financed by the World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.  

“From closing the digital divide to building resilience in the face of natural disasters or pandemics, innovation can solve some of the most pressing development challenges. The World Bank Group is pleased to support impactful programs focused on bringing equal access to connectivity to women in developing countries and to recognize cutting-edge solutions such as AI-enabled robots to rebuild homes in post-disaster areas. Now is the time to scale up solutions that have proven effective, so that no one is left behind in the new digital era,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure.

“Disruptive technologies are a fundamental driver of economic growth and job creation—and key to solving development challenges around the world. At IFC, we are proud to support the private sector in bringing these technologies to emerging markets, with innovations that range from portable ultrasound devices that can detect COVID-19 to medical tools that provide real-time cardiac diagnoses even in remote areas,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at IFC.

We are thrilled to be continuing our work with the World Bank so the world’s best and brightest innovators at CES can collaborate with the World Bank Group to enter new markets, provide solutions and aid in development,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. CES 2021 will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world. For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation, and CES 2021 will provide an engaging platform for companies large and small to launch products, build brands and form partnerships.

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