This amazing advice by Dr, Kim is still relevant today as MWC2019 begins!   

Image credit: worldbank.org

“I believe if we work together, we can tackle the biggest global challenges of our life-time: such as poverty, inequality and even pandemics, famine and climate change……” Dr. Jim Yomg Kim, former World Bank Group President at the MWC2018

As we begin this year’s Mobile World Congress today, I would like to look at some of the salient advice Dr. Kim captured in his speech at the last one.

The Mobile World Congress which is the biggest mobile innovations event organized each year to showcase what the world should expect in the months ahead in the mobile industry.

Samsung will feature greatly this year, too, revealing some amazing smart phone innovations. Artificial Intelligence and 5G technologies will also be high on display. Starting today 25th Feb till 28th Feb, the world should expect some great innovations in the mobile industry.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s Keynote Address@ MWC2018

In this article I will attempt to share my notes taken from his keynote address during the Mobile World Congress 2018, captioned ‘The Future of the Industry: Transatlantic Digital Policy and Regulation.

Dr. Kim noted that from the exhibitions seen at the MWC2018, there is a fantastic future ahead of us: “Where we might not need roads, where machines take care of everything. There is even the possibility that when someone has a heart disease, a doctor can replace the heart with one freshly printed from a 3D machine”.

He was quick to point that although these possibilities look exciting, the World Bank Group has some great concerns. He noted that the World Bank Group would rather expect these technology advancements help to end extreme poverty in developing economies and not marginalise them.

The aim of the group is to ensure that all economies can harness the ever-advancing innovations to end poverty.  However, there is a possibility that some economies can be left behind because of their inability to compete or participate in the new-world Tech economy.

Efforts by the World Bank Group

Investments have been made in infrastructure such as road and energy, and also in nutrition and education by the World Bank Group. There have been deliberate designs of financial instruments over the years to end epidemics in order to curtail famine.

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The group ensures the building of markets purposely to grow private sectors, irrespective of which country they are in – be it well-developed or those bridled with conflicts and violence.

World Bank’s Goals to End Poverty

He mentioned that extreme poverty ratios have improved over the past three decades. Reports have it that the number of people living on less than US$1.50 a day has moved from 35% in the 1990s to less than 10% today. However, there are still about 800 million people living in extreme poverty – and 100 million people more are at risk of falling back into it.

In this regard, the World Bank Group has set two goals:

The WBG Appeals to the Mobile World

Dr. Kim calls out to the world of mobile to help the World Bank Group help achieve these goals, stressing it is as an urgent task.

He appeals: “I believe if we work together, we can tackle the biggest global challenges of our lifetime: such as poverty, inequality and even pandemics, famine and climate change……”

The need for the global market system to be working for everyone and the entire planet should be a priority.  

GSMA – The mobile people

Smartphones are almost everywhere now. Youth all over the world are seen holding one. The smartphone is enabling everybody to be in touch with the happenings and living styles of everyone else. Geographical location is no longer a barrier, thanks to the Internet and social media.

While social media is enabling us to see how people are living in other parts of the world, it also has the potential to ignite dissatisfaction in reference to income levels.  This points to the findings made by economists at the WBG – stating that one’s relative happiness is dependent on the location of that individual on the income distribution level, and also depends on how one’s income compares to his or her reference income. The level of satisfaction achieved is a big deal to everyone on the planet.

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He noted that Smartphones are powerful accelerators of aspirations, and the big question is: how can everyone achieve their individual aspirations?

 Automations and security threats

As technology advances and automation is everywhere now, there is a big concern about peace and security. If we continue failing to create jobs and economic growth, we endanger our own security.

There is no doubt that robots are being created to take jobs from people. Automation has come in, and we are happily implementing without a social look at the affected groups of people. Our own case of automation at Tema Harbour, with the sole aim of saving money for government, without consideration for where these peoples whose jobs are going to be affected will go. Thus, there is a brewing problem at our ports.

Dr. Kim noted that if everyone’s aspiration is going up and technology is replacing cheap labour in developing countries, then we are going to have to answer some very difficult questions: What on earth are people going to do? How will they support their families? How are they going to spend their time?  And will they be more likely to be recruited by online extremist groups?

Two Possible Outcomes We Face  

If we do little to use mobile technology with the innovation to help create new markets, jobs and aspirations are rather met with frustration, many countries are likely to sink into fragility, conflict, violence, extremism and eventually migration, Dr. Kim noted.

A rethink about how connectivity, big data and new technologies can create new drivers of economic growth and opportunities for all must be the priority focus at this time.

As we accelerate the advancement of broadband and its access, new markets, new job-creation and new drivers of economic growth should be at the forefront.

 

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