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A panel discussion is in progress at the Knowledge Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.
Staff Reporter, Gulf Today
High-level business delegates from Santiago de Cali, the capital of the Valle del Cauca department, the most populous city in southwest Colombia, explored international partnership and investment opportunities during their visit to the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Colombian delegates engaged with prospective global partners and investors to highlight a myriad of growth prospects in Cali’s key sectors such as sports and health tourism, two of its major industries. They were present at the Colombia Pavilion on March 2 & 3, 2022.
During the visit, the group highlighted what makes Cali different from other cities and showcased the city’s competitive edge as the doorway to the Colombian Pacific. Companies are growing in Cali thanks to its business-friendly policies and solutions, as well as its capability to fully support their operations. Zonamerica, the first services free trade zone in the country and tech park, is situated in the city.
Cali, the main urban and economic center in the south of the country, is considered one of the fastest-growing economies in Colombia. It is also one of the most biodiverse. The city is home to more than 900 species of birds and is a favorite destination for hiking and some extreme sports.
Dubbed as Colombia’s sporting capital, it was a host to many international sporting competitions. These included the 1971 Pan American Games, the 1992 World Wrestling Championships, the 2013 World Games, the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics, and the inaugural 2021 Junior Pan American Games.
Furthermore, Cali is the location of numerous healthcare providers that offer affordable but higher-quality healthcare treatments. Some 72,000 medical tourists from all over the world come to the city a year to avail themselves of local healthcare services.
It is renowned as well for its bilingual and young human talents, nurtured by multiple local initiatives being undertaken to strengthen their communication and technical skills. This is amid the growing global demands for technology and services operations.
Additionally, the city-region, which mainly grows sugarcane and coffee, hosts more than 200 multinationals, accounts for 37 per cent of Valle del Cauca’s exports, and represents almost 12 per cent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP). Its other top exports apart from sugarcane and coffee are fresh and exotic fruits, pharmaceutical and chemical products, fashion and accessories, cultural and creative industry, machinery, agroindustry and construction, cocoa derivatives and confectionaries.
As a business center that boasts of reliable infrastructure and connectivity, Cali remains a low-cost city where companies can achieve higher cost savings in their key operations. Investment opportunities are immense in major local sectors such as manufacturing, agribusiness, renewable energy, human resources, information technology, software business process outsourcing (BPO), and many more.
Called the ‘Capital of Salsa,’ it is also famous for its unique style of salsa. On food, Cali offers the traditional sancocho and tamales apart from seafood made delicious by a wide variety of herbs.
Colombia has joined more than 190 nations that are presently taking part in Expo 2020. Since the start of the grand world exposition in October 2021, the Colombia Pavilion has been showcasing the nation’s unique cultural heritage, wide range of business opportunities, major industries, and many more.
Knowledge Summit: The role and impact of the media during the COVID-19 crisis has been extensively discussed in a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the seventh edition of the Knowledge Summit. Themed ‘The Role & Impact of Media During Crisis: Reflecting on COVID-19’, several leading media personalities including Karam Gabr, Head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation in Egypt; Ali Jaber, Group TV Director, MBC Group; Ali Obaid Al Hameli, News Centre Department Director at Dubai Media; and Michael Peters, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Euronews SA addressed the topic; and was moderated by TV presenter Lojain Omran.
The session tackled several issues surrounding media’s capabilities especially during crisis such as the widespread misinformation dubbed as ‘info-demic’, the importance of trusted sources during times of uncertainty, the narratives surrounding COVID-19 and the forms of storytelling, as well as debunking misleading ideas such as conspiracy theories.
Gabr discussed the media’s role during the Covid-19 pandemic in Egypt, particularly social media which had exacerbated the crisis due to rampant misinformation. The practices were additional burdens to official media outlets as they had to make multiple efforts to deny and correct misleading news and information circulated within the community. Gabr reiterated that apart from disseminating facts, the media plays a role in helping raise awareness and equip people with knowledge on how to verify information and avoid the spread of false news and misinformation.
Ali Jaber explained that the media in some countries have played an important role in influencing society especially during the Covid-19 pandemic where a cross section of the society were convinced not to take the vaccine, which had exacerbated the health conditions in those countries. He cited the laws implemented by Arab Gulf countries against spreading rumors and false news have helped these countries deal with the pandemic more effectively.
Jaber reviewed the UAE experience in dealing with the pandemic with integrity and transparency, citing the government’s strong decisions, laws, and legislation which have contributed to the control of misinformation, particularly on social media. This has had a significant impact on limiting the spread of wrong information and at the same time, contributed to encouraging community members to take the vaccine. He further highlighted that the greatest challenge in the media is putting laws and legislations in place to control the chaos in the posting on social media.
Ali Al Hameli shared his views that during the pandemic, the unreliability of information in social media had boosted the credibility and reliability of traditional media which became the first reference and source of correct information. Hameli also presented the experience of the News Centre at Dubai Media during the pandemic and the role it played in raising community awareness.
For his part, Michael Peters of Euronews remarked that knowledge is the accumulation of information and that traditional media had taken a major role during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide correct information, adding that social media has failed to pass the test of credibility and has brought up many negative aspects in terms of handling rumors and fake news, spreading fear, panic, and anxiety in society. This has led to people relying more on traditional media to obtain accurate information.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) is organizing the seventh edition of the Knowledge Summit in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the theme ‘Knowledge: Protecting Humanity and the Planet in the Pandemic’ at Expo 2020 Dubai. The event in-person event took place on March 14 and 15 and would continue on March 16 to 18 via virtual sessions, with the participation of experts, leaders, and government officials from around the world.
The exceptional “World Government Summit- Expo 2020” will be the biggest gathering yet since its inception with expected attendance of over 10,000 high-profile officials, 30 international organisations and 600 experts and scholars.
In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to support the hosting of Expo 2020, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, ZHO, has supported the promotion of this international event through two initiatives.
The pavilion is located in the ‘Opportunity District’ and has a total covered area of 35,000 Sqft. The inner journey of the Pavilion is set under the theme ‘Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure’ with an aim to enhance tourism, commerce and investment in Pakistan.
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