CISCO Chairman Says U.S. Being Outpaced by Middle East in $19 Trillion Digital Opportunity

If the new U.S. administration does not take heed, according to the executive chairman of CISCO, the U.S. is set to miss out on a $19 trillion opportunity and is lagging behind the rest of the world in its digital strategy.

There is “tremendous opportunity” for taking advantage of the growth prospects of business and job creation, which is already being embraced by other countries, particularly in the Middle East, and it is up to President Donald Trump to implement a digital agenda that is aimed to achieve that, says John Chambers, executive chairman of CISCO, who identifies the U.S. as the “only country in the world” without a digital agenda.

By clearly saying that the new President must embrace technology to be in with a chance of creating the levels of new jobs promised during his campaigning, Chambers countered wider skepticism about digitization and its resultant job cuts.

“This digitization is going to take place; you have to deal with the world the way it is,” he said, touching on President Trump’s anti-globalization campaign rhetoric.

He added that the public and private sectors should be included together to form a joint collaboration so that the digital agenda can be set and digital aims can be achieved. He was speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai. He added that ultimately, however, this needs to start with start-ups and small businesses – “that’s where all the job creation will occur.”

“I’m optimistic that if our country in the U.S. starts to lead we can do this in a way that’s very inclusive for all job growth.

“If you’re trying to grow jobs by 25 million in the U.S. over this next decade – or even faster – it has to start with small businesses and start-ups.”

With countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia rethinking how they approach the market, the Middle East is striving ahead in its digital agenda, said Chambers, who compared the U.S. to the digital drive in the Middle East.

“(They are) using this digital world to bring not only jobs to their country but to bring the opportunity to increase dramatically the middle class and role models throughout the Middle East.”

And according to Chambers, as society is brought into a greater equilibrium, this digital transformation is bringing the region closer to achieving peace than it has been in two decades.

For their efforts in driving the digital agenda, the governments of India and France were also praised by him.

“I think it can completely transform everything. Great economic growth $19 trillion over the next decade, that’s one to three points on ever country’s GDP. But it can also change the lives, in an inclusive way, of every citizen in key countries,” he said.

“Every country in the world will go digital, every city, every company. It will be a period of tremendous opportunity to leapfrog your counterparts around the world or, if you don’t move, a chance to get left behind.”

(Adapted from CNBC)

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