WeGO is an organization that is focused on sustainable urban development through e-government, ICT and smart cities. Can you highlight some of the major projects WeGO has been involved in over the last 12 months?
This year, WeGO held our 4th General Assembly in Russia. The General Assembly is held every three years and is the top decision-making body of WeGO. It brings together mayors, chief information officers and high-level public officials from all WeGO member cities as well as thought leaders and partners from all over the world and serves as an important international platform for cities to become smart sustainable cities, to share knowledge and to forge new partnerships. The 4th WeGO General Assembly was a great success, gathering over 400 urban leaders from 112 cities and local governments.
The Indonesian government and Google have finally resolved its long-running dispute over allegations that the US technology colossus had avoided paying millions of dollars in taxes. Indonesia’s Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati has confirmed that an agreement has been brokered, but revealed that the figure agree will not be disclosed. The Indonesian Finance Minister said: “We already have an agreement with them based on the 2016 annual tax return form, but we can’t disclose the figure.”
An Australian business delegation has announced its interest in investing and exploring potential opportunities that may arise from India’s nationwide ‘smart cities’ program. The business consortium is made up of 35 members - and they flew in India this week to meet with those tasked with the responsibility of leading the smart cities initiative.
The United States is planning to increase its scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley in an effort to protect what it describes as ‘sensitive technologies’ which are seen as vital to US national security. China has shown a particular interest in AI and machine learning and both technologies have received a significant amount of Chinese capital in recent years.
India’s Supreme Court has delivered a landmark decision that could have severe repercussions for Modi’s ‘smart cities’ program which aims to transform many of India’s cities and bring them into the ‘digital age’.
China’s strategic approach to technology investment has been hailed by the CEO of trade group CTA (Consumer Technology Association) at CES Asia, an ICT exhibition which is currently being held in Shanghai. CTA CEO, Gary Shapiro, claimed that China has taken a successful US model and improved on it – highlighting the country’s sharp focus on technology and innovation as the primary reason for its success.
China has announced a new set of regulations it will introduce as it intensifies its campaign against anonymous users. The country already has a reputation for imposing some of the strictest policies in relation to internet freedom and censorship. However, China’s top internet censor is now being granted access to delete posts by anonymous users on any internet forum or platform.
The Indian government has requested that US technology colossus Apple must provide them with a detailed vision for its job creation plans in the country – and its long-term investment strategy for manufacturing iPhones in India – before it will even consider the prospect of granted Apple’s request for tax concessions.
India’s government is currently examining ways in which it can reduce the growing problem of urban congestion in major cities across the country. The government has formed a federal think-tank, which is chaired by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minsiter Modi has previously called for reduced car ownership and believes the use of private vehicles as shared taxis could be the ideal solution to India’s traffic woes.
A professor has urged government authorities in the Pacific Islands to embrace ICT in order to revolutionize and transform the services it provides for its residents by bringing the system into the digital era. Professor, Graham Hassall, believes an education process is required to highlight the potential of ICT and the subsequent benefits that this technology adoption via government services will have for the Islands.