News in Digest: International ties – Iran, India, IT

Silicon Valley visit pays immediate dividends for digitally-minded foreign minister

Following last month’s announcement that international diplomatic relations would no longer be restricted to ties with other countries, Denmark has been busy courting interest in Silicon

Sure, deals with India, Iran and China are also in the offing, but it was the trip of the foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, to the US in late February that grabbed the headlines, as he seeks to continue a ‘tech diplomacy’ initiative that will include appointing the world’s first digital ambassador.

Growing a network
“Artificial intelligence, big data, new digital business models and influential tech giants are already present here,” said Samuelsen ahead of touching down in Silicon Valley.

“Technical development is generating challenges, opportunities and dilemmas. So we need to grow a network, harvest the knowledge and enter into a dialogue with them.”

Singularity in Denmark
And the trip has already paid dividends as the Silicon Valley-based think-tank Singularity University has announced plans to establish a new innovation hub in Copenhagen – only its second outside its HQ.
‘SingularityU Denmark’ will be located at a 5,000 sqm site in Copenhagen Science City and aim to boost Danish digitalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship, providing a number of education and innovation courses.

Growth adviser postings
Meanwhile, the government has announced plans to expand its official co-operation with India and Iran through sustainable urban development and patents regarding products.

To this end, the Foreign Ministry intends to deploy growth advisers to the two nations – as well as to new projects in China, Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia, where co-operative measures are already in full swing.

Project worth billions
Denmark will help India overcome the challenge of providing water to its urban population, which is expected to number 800 million people by 2040. India has 100 billion kroner to spend between 2017 and 2040.

Two growth advisers will be deployed to India – one focusing on sustainable urban development in co-operation with Aarhus Municipality and local Indian authorities, while the other will work within energy in tandem with the Energy and Climate Ministry.

Trading smart in Tehran
And in Iran, Danish exports, political dialogue and university co-operation has been increasing. In collaboration with the Business Ministry, the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, and the Iranian authorities, the growth adviser will focus on patents and trademarks.

Aarhus will enter into a co-operation concerning urban development and city planning with the cities of Udaipur in India and Tshwane in South Africa, while Copenhagen will step up its association with Beijing.

Chinese tourism boost
In related news, the business minister, Brian Mikkelsen, has returned to China to sign a tourism co-operation deal for 2017, which also includes maritime interests.

“If we can attract just a fraction more Chinese to Denmark, it will have a major impact on Danish tourism,” said Mikkelsen.

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