Spotlight: B20 Saudi Arabia Digitalization Taskforce

13 April 2020
Mr. Nasser Sulaiman Al-Nasser

Chair

Mr. Nasser Sulaiman Al-Nasser

What does it mean to you personally to head the B20 Digitalization Task Force?

It means a great deal to me, as I strongly believe that our future depends on the collaboration of the international business community to address today’s issues head on. Digitalization is the future, and I am honored to be chosen to lead such an essential task force for the B20 Saudi Arabia. We have a tremendous opportunity to help businesses and global economies to prepare for the future while creating opportunities for employees – and communities – for continued growth.

With this task force, we hope to drive digital transformation, which is so critical for business and society. However, with digital transformation comes an array of challenges that, as the voice of the private sector for the G20, we have the obligation to tackle through policy recommendations that are action-oriented and enable growth – from handling sensitive data to the integration of artificial intelligence in the workforce.

It is also a huge privilege to be playing my part in the first B20 hosted in the Middle East. We have the unique responsibility of not only representing Saudi Arabia, but also the MENA region.


Can you provide an overview of the priorities for your task force?

Based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to international, regional and national policy agenda.
  • Alignment with current overall G20 2020 Saudi Arabia priorities.
  • Direct input provided by our own task force members.

Our task force has identified four key priority topics:

  1. Enabling inclusive digital transformation in the era of Artificial Intelligence.
  2. Laying the foundation for smart cities.
  3. Fostering resilient digital infrastructure and cybersecurity readiness.
  4. Driving digital inclusion and growing digital skills.

These recommendations have been discussed and refined by the impressive group of people who are part of the Digitalization Task Force. This includes 91 business leaders across different G20 countries and is co-chaired by industry experts in digitalization including Diane Wang, CEO of DHgate, Cedrik Neike, CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Borje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson, Dr. Guy Diedrich, Global Innovation Officer of CISCO, Matts Granryd, Director General of GSMA and Wael Elkabbany, Middle East and Africa Enterprise Managing Partner of Microsoft. We are working in close collaboration with business leaders and experts from global corporations leading the way in digitalization, including Lenovo, Facebook, Uber, Accenture, Oracle, Nokia, Telefonica, Walmart, Shell and Orange, among others.


What are the goals of your task force?

The aim of the B20 Saudi Arabia Digitalization Task Force is to develop recommendations to successfully drive inclusive digital transformation for businesses and society. The broader purpose of the B20 is to serve as the voice of the private sector to ensure we form consensus-based policy recommendations in line with the priorities set forth by the Saudi G20 Presidency.

Through collaboration with global business leaders representing some of the most advanced corporations in the world, we hope to achieve critical goals. We aim to lay the foundation for the creation of smart cities across geographies. As urban challenges are rising, technology can directly address issues of urban congestion, air quality, mobility, and efficient management of resources, among other topics. Several initiatives already exist – from NEOM to Masdar City – but there is a lot to be addressed.

In addition, the integration of AI into the workforce is not only critical for the future of business, but also has a significant impact on society as a whole. We hope to lead by example by providing guidance on how to manage sensitive data and protect the privacy of citizens around the world, while also growing our workforce and providing them with the necessary skills to implement AI capabilities into the workspace. We also aim to foster resilient digital infrastructure and cybersecurity readiness resilience through digitalization and are confident that, collaboratively, we can deliver timely and actionable policy recommendations to the Saudi G20 Presidency that will pave the path for a more digital-integrated and inclusive future.


What is your task force doing to address the current COVID-19 pandemic? 

We’re certainly living in unprecedentedtimes amidst this health and economic crisis. As a group, B20 Saudi Arabia has established a COVID-19 initiative that aims to make concrete recommendations on how businesses can tackle this and future crises, in alignment with the G20 discussions and agenda. This pandemic has only made the importance of global cooperation more critical to solving complex issues impacting the world’s population today.

From a task force perspective, we’re currently looking at sectors and jobs affected, but also at how digital technologies are helping people work, study and stay connected during the pandemic. This crisis has only made solving critical industry challenges more urgent. For example, we’re seeing major disruptions in supply chain while needing to ramp up production of goods; delivery services and e-commerce are growing as physical stores close and people spend more time at home; and the increase in remote interactions accelerates the need for investment in 5G infrastructure.

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