ITU announces Swiss innovation centre with TRA

01 July 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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A new International Centre of Digital Innovation, known as I-CoDI, is to open in Geneva, Switzerland, following a partnership between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates.

Intended to help ITU Members, sector members and other key stakeholders to integrate innovation into their national development agendas and activities, the centre will have both virtual and physical components.

“Innovation is at the heart of the digital revolution and an essential part of the fabric of ITU,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“We welcome the decision by the TRA, a long-standing partner of ITU, to establish its future International Centre of Digital Innovation in Geneva. It will help catalyse efforts to turn today's digital revolution into a development revolution for all.”

Design is due to be completed by 2020-end, but no further date has been provided for the opening.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, director general of the TRA, said: “This experience reflects the success of innovation and creativity policies pursued by the UAE, which resulted in hundreds of projects and initiatives that contributed to achieving the UAE’s leading position in innovation.

“The UAE is no longer a country that imports ideas, but rather a source of innovation and success in various sectors.”

The launch of I-CoDI, follows the 2013 launch of CoDI, a capacity building and research ecosystem located at the TRA building in Dubai, UAE. The centre has focused on smart government services, robotics, AI and 3D printing since launch.

Majid Almadhloum, director of CoDI at the TRA, added: “ITU's aim to transfer the experience of CoDI indicates its uniqueness and importance in serving the goals of global societies aimed at achieving sustainable development and digital transformation. We are proud of our accomplishments to this day, and we will continue working to achieve more success.”

Following the addition of an international centre, Doreen Bogdan-Martin (pictured), director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, said work will underpin the attainment of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The growing digital innovation divide is at the heart of the digital divide,” said Bogdan-Martin.

“Innovation has been recognised as a powerful engine for promoting development, addressing socio-economic challenges and increasing the overall competitiveness of countries. I look forward to working closely with the TRA to establish I-CoDI and contributing to the development of innovation strategies to accelerate digital transformation and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”