The GCC: A bright future

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori

This title is neither meant to be poetic nor meant to be a slogan. It is dictated by necessities and imperatives as public optimism is high despite the havoc Covid-19 has wreaked.

In these two weeks, there have been meetings of the GCC in the areas of telecommunications, postal services, and e-government. Today, the meeting of the GCC e-Government Ministerial Committee and the GCC Ministerial Committee for Post & Telecommunications will be held. Obviously, these two meetings were preceded by preliminary meetings of the Executive Committees in both areas. They were also preceded by important preparations by the Secretariat General of the GCC, an organisation that was and will always be the incubator of the Gulf dream. It follows up on the implementation of the agenda and projects of the Arab states of the Gulf that are united by a deeply rooted history and geography.

Our challenges and hope unite us - the air that we breathe and our children's future unite us in light of the difficulties we witness today at the global level, as a result of the scientific, technological, economic, and social transformations in all fields.

Dreams of digital networking that are part of our digital programmes bring us together to create the society and knowledge economy we aspire to achieve for sustainability and happiness of our peoples.

Nevertheless, what makes digital cooperation between the Arab Gulf states promising and necessary is not limited to the emotional and historical factors, but objective foundations. The results of the United Nations e-Government Survey issued a few days ago showed that the Arab Gulf states ranked highest at the regional level in important indicators such as the E-Government Development Index, Online Services Index, E-Participation, and the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, among others.

The Covid-19 pandemic also revealed that the GCC countries are among the most prepared to deal with new circumstances and ensure the continuity of life in all its activities.

All of the above indicate that the Arab Gulf states are able to lead the region towards the desired digital future. This requires strengthening collaborations in the areas of digital transformation and deployment of advanced technology, technologies supported by artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, smart cities, blockchain and digital commerce, among others.

Among the GCC states, there are many areas of cooperation in the digital field. Areas include the agenda of the relevant committees' meetings, as well as other topics that we hope to be included soon. We need to keep ourselves abreast of the technological developments and spur the pace towards the development of a GCC-level digital platform to transfer and exchange knowledge. We also need to accelerate the implementation of integrated systems, the activation of interconnection projects at infrastructure level, starting a joint effort in the field of regulation and digital legislation, promoting strong cooperation in cybersecurity, and much more.

We are hopeful that the coming years will be more rewarding for our Gulf states and for the Arab world in general and will be characterised by greater digital cooperation in order to create a happy future for all of us. The rapid changes in today's world are a constant reminder of the fact that building our future should not, and cannot be, an individual act or an isolated effort.