Islamabad: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have jointly launched Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO) to boost digital ties among member states. The organisation was launched at a virtual event hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Abdullah Al Swaha. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also participated in the event.
Digital economy and diplomacy
The organisation has been launched to accelerate the growth of the digital economy in the region. The initiative, envisaged by Saudi Arabia, is “driven by a vision to realise a digital future for all by empowering women, youth and entrepreneurs, growing the digital economy, and leapfrogging with innovation.” DCO would offer a platform to promote the global digital agenda in the scientific, health, educational, commercial, social, agricultural, investment and security spheres.
Initiative to help boost digital growth
“Pakistan is privileged to be a founding member of the Digital Cooperation Organisation and to work closely with our partners to guide and lead a global digital agenda,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi said. “At a time when the global digital economy is worth over $11 trillion and growing, creation of DCO and Pakistan joining as founding member propels us into future of cooperation and unity in digital economy” Qureshi added. Pakistan’s Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque also joined the virtual meeting.
The Foreign Office said in its statement that digital diplomacy had been a core component of the foreign minister’s public diplomacy initiative that aims to enhance Pakistan’s digital diplomacy footprint. “The creation of DCO would cater to the growing need of international collaboration in the digital domain” in the post-pandemic world.
Besides Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, other key members of the DCO are Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait.
Seize the digital opportunity
“Our future prosperity will depend on the digital economy,” said Saudi Minister Abdullah Amer Al-Swaha. The digital cooperation has been launched to “make sure that we seize an opportunity for our youth, our women and our entrepreneurs with the ambition to grow our combined digital economy to one trillion dollars in the next 3-5 years.”
Jordan’s Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh termed the initiative “a critical step towards ensuring that our digital economies are innovative and future-proof”. Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed said the initiative will “enable members to respond and adapt in an agile and swift manner to the ever-changing digital scene.”