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Dubai Government leads new technology adoption, says panelists at INSEAD NAA UAE Leadership Forum
(1 November 2019)


Dubai Government is at the forefront of adopting and leading changes in the world of technology and building the future, according to a panelist speaking at the region’s first INSEAD NAA UAE Leadership Forum, which took place in Dubai today.

Speaking at a session titled ‘The Chosen Ones: Industries Transforming our Region’ during the one-day event, Moza Al Marri, Executive Director - Director General’s Office at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said that Dubai Government leads by example when it comes to technology. “You either adopt new technology, or you will be left behind,” she said. “While around the world, the private sector leads changes and introduces disruptive technology, in our region, Dubai Government is always the one leading the change while the private sector follows,” Al Marri said. 

The same view was shared by Osman Sultan, CEO of Du, who highlighted the role of the telecommunications sector in the development of the economy. “Whether it is internet of things (IoT), or big data or artificial intelligence, the telecommunication sector plays a key role in enabling what we see around us,” he noted. 

The CEO of Du also said that each buzz word such as IoT, AI, or big data, have disruptive potential for a lot things that we do. “In the telecom industry, we moved from the unshared uncertainty era, during which we didn’t need to talk with end users like banks, movies producers etc while developing our services and regulators didn’t exist, to an era of shared uncertainty, which represents a fundamental change,” he noted.

He also said that while telecom and banking sectors are some of the most regulated sectors, they didn’t manage the changes resulting from disruptive technology easily, as the mindset wasn’t ready to adopt change. The CEO of Du also called for greater collaboration in the telecom sector to accelerate changes. He cited the example of how the collaborative efforts of the banking sector resulted in creating companies like MasterCard and Visa.

Meanwhile, Olivia Bellingham, Senior Vice President - Strategy, Analytics, Pricing and M&A MEA, Mastercard, said that collaboration is key during periods of change, as it facilitates easier access to new markets and opens new horizons. “We cannot do it all alone, we should collaborate with others,” she said.  

Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director of Facebook in the Middle East, said that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) business community is lagging behind when it comes to adopting new technologies. “Less than 0.5% of business in the MENA region is digitally active,” he noted.

Speaking about Facebook’s Libra blockchain digital currency, he said that it offers a possibility to connect people. “There are many financially disconnected people around the region that we need to get connected through Libra,” he noted. He also said that the region offers many untapped opportunities. “The MENA region has a lot to be excited about, its GDP is higher than India’s GDP and the purchasing power of the region is higher than that of France. Imagine the prosperity, the power and influence we as a region can have if we figure out how to connect them. That for us is top of mind,” he noted. “Doing this securely and privately is our vision for the future,” he noted.

Organised by the INSEAD National Alumni Association (NAA) in the UAE and the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), the region’s first INSEAD NAA UAE Leadership Forum provided a platform for sharing diverse ideas on promoting sustainable economic growth and creating a brighter future for the region. Speakers engaged in a dialogue on vital topics ranging from the economy, society and culture to technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Forum took a deeper look at the economic and social shifts taking place regionally and globally and explored how countries in the Middle East can ride these waves of change to bring more prosperity to the region.

One of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, INSEAD has consistently been ranked among the world’s top three business schools. The INSEAD National Alumni Association in the UAE has the largest and most diverse alumni network in the Middle East.

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