Photo: Nasreen Abdullah
A GCC minister, who worked tirelessly to ensure that public healthcare was easily accessible to all walks of society, has been conferred with the best minister award. A visionary healthcare leader, Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari is Qatar’s Minister of State for Public Health and was selected from a shortlist of 10 ministers from around the world.
“Expanding our world class facilities is only one part of our journey,” she said in a short video played after she was announced winner. “Creating environments in which we can continuously innovate is equally important. The challenges we face are tremendous. Access to affordable healthcare for our citizens, harvesting emerging new technologies and maintain a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Those challenges know no boundaries and neither should we.”
She was recognised on the first day of the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024. The award, which is presented by WGS in partnership with business management consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), recognizes the outstanding work of global ministers. The winners are selected by considering several factors including a social media opinion poll.
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According to Nesrine Halima from PwC, there is an objective assessment before the awards are announced. “We collaborate to identify best practices from around the world,” she said. “We have a clear set of criteria that the team applies to identify the minister that has had the most impact.”
Spending on war
In his keynote speech, WGS 2024 chairman and Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi revealed that the world wastes seventeen trillion dollars on conflicts and violence in a year.
“It was not invested in construction, education or health, but in wars, sabotage, and destruction,” he said. “What brings us together as a human being is much more than what divides us, and what can be achieved together is much more valuable.”
The first day of the WGS got discussed several important topics including the future of work, mobility and technology at various sessions throughout the day.
In his opening remarks, Al Gergawi went on to draw attention to a few other numbers. “Fifty per cent of the global growth comes from India and China,” he said. “China has invested about four times as much as the United States in shifting towards clean energy.”
With India poised to become the third largest economy in the world, he said the global economic compass points east. “The new world economy is emerging,” he said. “We need to think where is our focus going because the focus determines our future and the way we think.”
The next number he highlighted was 1,000. “The capacity of artificial intelligence (AI) has multiplied 1,000 times in the last one year,” he said. “It is believed that the entire sum of human knowledge has been uploaded on the digital space and we need millions of years to consume this huge amount of information.”
He went on to share how the processing speed of AI is more than 100,000 times superior to the human brain. “It can produce a 500-page book summary in just five seconds,” he said. However, he alerted that the technology is a double-edged sword, as “media misinformation” and the spread of misleading and false information will be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.
He also highlighted that there was a 7 per cent decrease in global GDP due to the decline of globalisation. “During the year 2022 alone, about 3,000 measures were imposed to restrict trade around the world,” he said. “That is nearly three times the number that were imposed in the year 2019. We are witnessing more intense competition in the areas of technology and innovation and currencies, and an increasing internal focus in light of the rise of populism.”
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