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The Urgency of Redirecting Global Spending to Human Development

February 12, 2024

A UAE minister said that $17 trillion is spent on wars and conflicts on an annual basis instead of more pressing issues such as construction, education, and health; his comments came at the 2024 World Government Summit.

“This was not invested in construction, education, and health, but in wars, sabotage, and destruction,” said Mohammed Abdullah al-Gergawi, the UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and WGS chairman.

During the opening session of the event, he explained that the summit’s focus is on opportunities in the vast space for progress and development across the planet.

He added that the world must “invest in what unites us, not what divides us.” Al-Gergawi explained that the economic fragmentation including trade barriers cost the world economy 7% of GDP in 2022.

“The World Governments Summit is the UAE’s responsible invitation to the whole world, to join the dialogue, share knowledge, and invest in new ideas and creative energies that are capable of creating innovative solutions to development challenges, and meet peoples’ expectations of a good life and a better future,” he said.

“How are we going to shape the future, we are not over-optimistic but our feet are on the ground and we are cautious about our life,” he said. 

The Role of AI in Expanding the Ecosystem

“There is a limitation to our human mindset,” said Peng Xiao, Group CEO, G42 during a panel on the role of AI in shaping the global economic landscape. “There might be limitations in our biology to always living in harmony,” he added. 

Xiao said that the future will be humans with AI against humans without AI, as AI helps people to work more in harmony. He added that nation-states need to pay attention and work with companies who are competing against each other in that field. “You cannot regulate what you don’t understand.”

Xiao said that humans need to find a way to understand and work with AI. “Gen AI can only do about 2 percent of the human capability, yet the world is running out of data centers for that tiny portion of capabilities,” he explained. Xiao added that maybe next year AI can double the capabilities of human functions.

“Imagine the demand then, we have to look ahead.”

The Future of Work Forum

During the event, The Future of Work Forum took place in which the UAE Minister of Human Resources, Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar said that the economic expansion since 2021 has been largely driven by increased labor utilisation. 

“Having visionary plans in place is an optimal pathway for officials to lead the labour markets and navigate the fast-evolving labour market,” Dr. Al Awar said. He explained the importance of establishing a labour market that not only adapts to the new world but embraces it to new and unprecedented opportunities.

The UAE has been updating its ecosystem to attract new talent from across various sectors. The Minister said that they have researched green jobs in the country to understand more how the shift towards a sustainable environment will help create more jobs. 

During the forum, there was a ministerial panel in which they spoke about the future of the work. The panelists discussed future skills by trying to share how to develop skills and talents in governments. They also explored digital HR systems by discussing various systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governmental human resources departments. 

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