Cologny, Switzerland – Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the board of Directors of the World Economic Forum, made striking statements about Turkey’s investments in the field of technology.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), said: ‘Turkey, an important actor globally and in the region from an economic and geopolitical point of view, can take the lead in this area (digital transformation) and lead the way in maximizing the effects of the digital revolution.’

Turkey can lead digital revolution in region

World Economic Forum chief says Turkey should continue to invest in innovation, maximizing benefits of digital revolution

As a G20 economy and a vital geopolitical actor in the region, Turkey can show leadership in boosting the benefits of a digital revolution, said the founder of the World Economic Forum.

Praising Turkey’s efforts in digital growth via its national technology initiative, Klaus Schwab said Turkey’s ambitious target is to level up R&D to 1.8% over the next two to three years.

“Turkey should continue to invest in innovation and prioritize these to fulfill the pressing needs of socioeconomic growth as well as industrial growth,” he told a virtual conference held by the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD).

He pointed to the importance of empowering the workforce with the right skills in a climate of ever-growing digital transformation.

“Turkey has a young, dynamic and vibrant population which presents a tremendous opportunity to hone and utilize their skills to drive it towards global leadership.”

He said the right skilling strategy should rely not only on the quality of education but also the quality of the ecosystem and its incentives for retaining a young workforce.

“Turkey should continue to build the right skills for current jobs but also emerging and high-tech jobs including in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence,” he said.

Underlining that countries must balance technological innovation with technology governance, he said Turkey is starting a pilot program to unlock the potential of blockchain-based digital currency with appropriate governance.

Mentioning how Turkey also became the latest country to join the forum’s network of centers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said this will allow it to work with several countries on developing governance frameworks.

“To truly embrace digital transformation, the role of cooperation and collaboration is crucial – this includes platforms and ecosystems,” he said.​​

Schwab, in his speech at the opening of the Digital Turkey conference held online by Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), said that they have long-term, past and long-established relations with Turkey for more than 40 years.

“The world is going through a period of critical change, and the introduction of approved vaccines is a beacon of hope in terms of health and human protection,” Schwab said. A few years ago, it might not have been possible to actually think about such a world. So it would be impossible to think that a vaccine could be distributed in this way in just one year after the global epidemic, but we did it. Covid-19 actually shows us how far advances have come in the medical world.”

Shcwab, who said that a lot of progress has been made in the field of health, especially thanks to the transformation called the 4th Industrial Revolution, continued:

“It showed how deeply ingrained and people-oriented policies can really be in the economic and social strategy of a country and the whole world. But the whole experience also showed us how unprepared we really are, in terms of tackling a challenge on this scale… Our health infrastructure, our social infrastructure, our economic infrastructure, the way we live, the way we do business, in fact, everything has been put to a test, and everything is changing right now. If this epidemic has taught us nothing, it has taught us that, in fact, continuing to do business as usual will no longer work. So the world needs a renewal, a reset, and that will only happen if governments and states evaluate and direct their own strategies again.”

“Turkey can lead the way in maximizing the effects of the digital revolution”

Klaus Schwab stressed that the dissemination of technologies, especially the dissemination of technologies under the 4th Industrial Revolution, will play an important role in the great renewal, saying that the application of technology, the adoption of new technologies must be done in an inclusive and fair way.

“Turkey, an important actor globally and in the region from an economic and geopolitical point of view, can take leadership in this area and lead the way in maximizing the effects of the digital revolution. We believe that there is an important opportunity here in terms of expanding it to the community and reducing the associated challenges.” said.

“Turkey is investing a lot in technology”

Schwab said that he had 4 messages that he wanted to share in his speech, “first of all, the change of technology is happening faster than we have ever seen before. We have to keep up with that. We have to keep up with this with extremely fast-growing technology and use it for the good of society. Technologies have also developed rapidly in recent decades, but what we are experiencing now in the world is unprecedented.”

“We need to think horizontally, not vertically,” Schwab said, pointing out that in order to keep up with the pace of technology change, businesses now need to think outside the boundaries of traditional business models and put forward a different value chain perspective. At this point, Turkey is investing very seriously in technology thanks to national technology initiatives and wants to increase R & D by 1.8 percent in the next 2-3 years,” he said.

“We need an education revolution”

Schwab, Founder and Chairman of WEF said:

“My second message is that it will be very important to strengthen the workforce with the right skills. Technology will continue to change our working environment and the nature of jobs. So if we look at the future of jobs, by 2020, 85 million jobs globally will disappear, perhaps because of a job exchange between people and machines. In this regard, we must move forward with re-skill strategies and reflect new skills at all levels of both government and business management. For this purpose, lifelong learning is very important, and we now have to move away from the traditional pedagogical system. We really need a revolution, we need an education revolution. We know that Turkey has a young and dynamic population. This population also represents a very serious opportunity for Turkey. In this way, the qualifications and skills of these young people can be used and Turkey’s place in global leadership can be improved. Here we need to focus not only on the quality of education, but also on the quality of the entire ecosystem. Incentives, supports should be offered. In this way, it should be possible to attract young people to the workforce and keep them here. Especially here, the business world has a special role.

My third message is that technology is balanced with technology management… Technology offers really great opportunities, but it also carries a number of risks. So the important thing is that countries here can conduct technology and innovation in a balanced way. For example, facial recognition is a very serious, powerful tool now. It has many applications and uses. Airports have introduced facial recognition technology. But there are a number of risks. There are risks with algorithms and data. Therefore, it is very important to establish the right balance and control system here. Recently, Turkey announced a pilot initiative, related to blockchains, related to digital currency… I want to congratulate you. Turkey is also the 4th member of the WEF. It was the last country to join the network on the Industrial Revolution. In this network, many countries of the world are working together, drawing up a framework for fair and participatory use of technology. These include helping SMEs adopt technology and educating senior managers on the principles of artificial intelligence.”

“The basic thing is to cooperate”

Klaus Schwab reports that his fourth message is about the role of collaboration in accelerating digital transformation.

Schwab noted:

“The role of collaboration and collaboration is really essential for the realization of digital transformation in this way. In this context, we can also talk about platforms and ecosystems. When we say Platform, I’m not just talking about a platform that offers integrated business services. I’m actually talking a little bit about international collaboration platforms, businesses like the WEF that connect with all ecosystem actors who develop deep connections. In this way, the right relationship between industry and academia can be established and we can focus on public-private cooperation and we will be more successful. In this way, we can move forward on this journey of transformation. In fact, we see an example of all this in the WEF Global Network. What is fundamental today is to actually cooperate in collaboration, or to cooperate in competitiveness. In this way, we can accelerate every effort. We can do this through international and multilateral cooperation.”

By establishing cooperation and alliances, it is also necessary to increase digital inclusion in the field of health, education and financial participation, Schwab said, adding that they hope to cooperate more with Turkey and TUSIAD members through these initiatives.