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Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and BOD Member at Huawei, has underscored how building trust in a digital society will require the joint efforts of policymakers, regulators, and the private sector. Her comments came during a speech at the St. Gallen Symposium, an annual gathering of current and future leaders from across the globe. The annual gathering of current and future leaders celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, welcoming 1,000 participants in the three-day cross-generational dialogue.

Chen joined political leaders and representatives of transnational organizations to exchange their views on the theme of this year’s symposium, “Trust Matters”. “As more devices feature connectivity, more services go online, and more critical infrastructures rely on real-time data exchanges, so must governments worldwide ensure that everyone is protected by the highest security standards. Only a common set of rules can guarantee a level of security that creates trust in technology,” Chen said.

The event’s participants agreed that trust is inherently built on openness and transparency, and that it is time to take concrete, actionable steps to address the common challenges and risks that have emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We, as members of the younger generation, are connected to a greater number of people through social media, but this does not correspond to a circle of people we can trust,” said Simon Zulliger, a member of the team of 35 students from the University of St. Gallen that organized this year’s symposium.

Chen hoped that the next generation of leaders would build trust and shape a world of pervasive connectivity. “I urge them to continue developing the positive relationships between communities, individuals, and their environments. We must build strong trust in technology, enabled by a common set of rules, innovations, and progress. Only then can we commit to the sustainable and trustworthy use of technology,” she concluded.

Chen’s comments echo the company’s recent reaffirmation and commitment to supporting digital transformation across the Middle East by building stronger cybersecurity mitigation programs with local partners and governments.  That commitment comes at a time when the overall spending on information and communication technology (ICT) in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region is expected to make a comeback, returning to positive growth of over $209.5 billion in 2021 after contracting last year, according to projections from IDC.

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