|Huawei Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board Catherine Chen delivers a keynote speech at the online Better World Summit 2020, on July 29. / Courtesy of Huawei|
By Kim Jae-heun
Huawei Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board Catherine Chen urged telecom regulators across many nations and industries to work together to address the shared challenges that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We need to create a more inclusive future for all," Chen said during her keynote speech on Thursday at the online Better World Summit 2020 held by Huawei from Shenzhen, China.
The Better World Summit was held for four days from July 27 to 30, gathering mobile carriers, analysts, industry partners and press from around the world. They included representatives from the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), the South African Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Thailand's Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, China's Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) and the Germany Association of the Internet Industry (ECO).
These speakers were joined by several thousand online attendees from more than 80 countries to explore how industry policy can promote development of the digital economy, facilitate economic recovery and build a better future.
Information technology has advanced rapidly over the past 30 years, making people's lives and work much easier. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed though that digital infrastructure has not kept pace with technological developments, said Chen.
According to the ITU, over half of the world's population still does not have internet access nor access to other digital technologies. As economies across countries slow, governments grow increasingly concerned with economic recovery strategies.
"We envision a more connected, intelligent and innovative future. Above all else, we must ensure this is an inclusive, sustainable and better future by all, for all," Chen said.
As more countries and regions successfully implement infection control measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, economic activity in certain countries has begun to return to normal. Multiple governments have launched a variety of stimulus plans, and ICT invariably has held a key place in these plans.
In China, the New Infrastructure plan has set aside over $140 billion to be invested in 5G alone over the next five years. This is expected to grow China's digital economy by more than $2 trillion and boost domestic economic recovery. The EU has also announced a 1.1-trillion-euro package to enhance economic recovery.
"To revive the economy, we need top-down designs, as well as bottom-up creativity and vitality," Chen said. "Supporting government policies coupled with active digital transformation across the industry will bring the benefits of digital technology to all industries, boost their efficiency and restore growth."
Referencing a recent World Bank report on the widening gap between the fast-growing global digital economy and a lack of digital skills, Chen went on to say, "Huawei is continuing with its flagship Seeds for the Future program. This program was launched in 2008, and is designed to develop local ICT talent. So far, this program has benefited more than 30,000 students from over 400 universities in 108 countries and regions."
She added, "Due to the pandemic, Huawei is moving the program online and opening it up to more outstanding students than ever before. As more industries adopt digital technologies, they will drive the United Nation's 2030 Strategic Development Goals, especially those related to climate change."