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India Stack an opportunity for the Global South

An invigorating Founders & Funders Forum marked Day 2 of the second UAE edition of the India Global Forum (IGF) in Dubai on December 13, packed with insightful conversations on a broad range of topics including fintech, metaverse, funding for the technology sector and the future of social media amongst other topics.

A highlight session entitled Partners in Disruption and Innovation was headlined by Hon. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s Minister for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Electronics and IT, who set out his dynamic vision for progressing the country’s digital economy and partnering with the UAE in the technology and innovation space.

Talking about the capabilities of the India Stack in delivering benefits of technology and digitalisation, the Minister said: “The India Stack today represents an opportunity for the Global South; countries that have in a sense been left behind or have not been able to afford the digitalisation that other advanced nations have been able to invest in, it gives them an opportunity to rapidly climb up the ladder of digitalisation.

“It will provide first time ability for countries that are hitherto away from the technology landscape, to deliver to their governments and citizens the benefits of digitalisation.

“The India Stack is well tested in India. We have mainstreamed every Indian who was at the periphery and who felt left out. Today our citizens, who would have been otherwise left out, are empowered and feel connected to the Government of India.”

On India-UAE bilateral ties, the Indian Minister noted: “We see tremendous opportunities in a boundary less partnership with the UAE. Through CEPA [Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements], we will create corridors for innovation and data to flow between the entrepreneurs and start-ups of the UAE and India. Across consumer technology, semiconductors, electronics, AI, blockchain and high-performance computing, to name a few sectors, we will create co-development models with the UAE.”

Joining him for the discussion was H.E. Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, who highlighted the many promising areas of collaboration between the UAE and India in the digital sphere.

Minister Al Olama said: “What India Stack provides is a no-excuse mandate for countries that say it can’t be done, whether small or big. A country the size of India was able to implement that is something that cutting-edge within less than a decade. I cannot state how incredible that is. And, it was not an imported solution, it was built from scratch.

“The only way to combat bureaucracy is through digitalisation. For the UAE, we want to take the learnings and see how we can carve out for a country of our size and position.”

At the end of another power-packed day, Professor Manoj Ladwa, Founder & Chairman, India Global Forum, said: “We are now well into India Global Forum UAE 2022 – Partners for Global Impact and what an energising set of sessions it has already run through.

“The second day of deliberations marked a range of agenda-setting dialogues amongst thought leaders and influencers from India, the UAE and indeed around the world. It is these conversations that India Global Forum strives to nurture in keeping with its goal of building partnerships that transcend borders to deliver global impact.”

Earlier in the day, delivering a Masterclass on Navigating Turbulent Times, Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital said: “We will have a dozen billion-dollar revenue companies in India in the coming years. Probably in the next 10 years, more than a quarter of India’s 100 top listed companies will be tech companies.

“For us to have a chance to build an enduring country, it is important to have a very good governance. Normally, in young companies, a lot of young founders don’t like to do things that they find boring like financial reporting. I think a founder’s journey is a journey from being a great innovator to eventually being a great leader, and then eventually being a leader of an enduring enterprise, which has very high ethical governance standards, independent boards etc.”

Delivering a talk on the future of Social Media, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-Founder, Koo, India said: “The novelty of its creators helped social media for the last fifteen years, however now questions are being asked on transparency, neutrality, profit sharing and unbiased behaviour.

“At KOO we try to be more inclusive rather than exclusive by bring in different languages and culture from across various regions. For creators we are going to introduce ‘super like’, a concept to share half the amount a user pays to the creator for exclusive content. The world needs an alternative to Twitter, which KOO can be with its 50 plus million users across India and Brazil”.

Speaking on media technologies, Umang Bedi, Co-Founder VerSe Innovation, said: “In India the creator economy is over a billion-dollar market. When I think about how big it is globally, there are influencers that have built billion-dollar companies, with over a billion dollars in revenue. Now these stairs of influencers will be very different and there is going to be a proliferation of three or four technology elements that are going to drive overall disruption in consumption.

“The first I think is going to be 5G – it is way faster with super low latency. Already it is used by a billion people in the world. By 2027, 3/4th of the planet will be on 5G and that’s really going to disrupt consumption of any kind. The second element that is going to be a big driver is Artificial Intelligence (AI)… and the third one is how the Metaverse is going to transform consumption experiences… I think it’s going to disrupt the way we consume and connect with experiences.”

Day Two of IGF UAE 2022 was themed around the Founders & Funders Forum which covered lively conversations on Tech Winter – End of Good Times? and a Masterclass on Navigating Turbulent Times. Participants also engaged in conversations on topics like Borderless Ambitions – Globalising the Indian Stack. Day Two also saw conversations on trending topics:

  • Social Media is Dead. Long Live Social Media!
  • Metaverse and Web 3.0 — A New World of Opportunities or a Fool’s Errand?
  • Have We Reached a Saturation Point with Fintech?

The second UAE edition opened in Abu Dhabi on December 12 and included many high-profile speakers, headlined by India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar.

In an inspiring fireside chat on India’s climate leadership, Hon. Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister of Labour & Employment and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, said: “As far as India is concerned, India is always a part of the solution, not the problem.

“Our climate action programme also shows that India is committed towards achieving its target. India is one of the few countries to submit its low carbon emission strategy programme. The greatest challenge is climate finance and technology transfer. That’s the promise made by the developed countries that has not been fulfilled.”

CT Bureau

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