G20 leaders recognize the Importance of Digital Economy

The 10th G20 Summit was just concluded at Buenos Aires. G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union and was setup in 2008 during the financial crisis. The key challenge, at that time, was to deal with the financial crisis. Since then G20 has evolved a much larger agenda of reforms and addressing various system, issues and policies those affect the global financial markets, trade, social issues and overall development.

Business 20 (B20) forum, an integral part of the G20 process. As digitalization is gaining traction day by day and affecting every aspect of the economic landscape, I had multiple engagements and deliberations throughout the year for development of policy recommendation paper on ‘Digital Economy & Industry 4.0’ (DEI), as co-chair of the taskforce.

As the rate of change of technology is envisaged to be exponential, developing the necessary digital skills as Re-Skilling, is going to be as important to keep the workforce employable, the G20 declaration, in line with the first recommendation of DEI TF, includes G20 commitment towards building an inclusive, fair and sustainable Future of Work by promoting decent work, vocational training and skills development, including reskilling workers, including and work delivered through digital platforms. G20 also committed continue to foster cognitive, digital and entrepreneurship skills, and encourage the collection and exchange of good practices.

To equip the citizens and to reap the benefits of societal and technological innovations, G20 will promote coordination between employment and equitable quality education policies, so G20 can develop comprehensive strategies that promote key competences such as learning to learn, foundation and digital skills, in a lifelong learning perspective.

DEI recommendation included many other aspects of digital trade & data flows, global connectivity, Industry 4.0, MSMEs inclusion, and cyber security to build a prospering eco-system and this has been well covered by G20. To maximize the benefits of digitalization and emerging technologies for innovative growth and productivity, G20 will promote measures to boost micro, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, bridge the digital gender divide and further digital inclusion, support consumer protection, and improve digital government, digital infrastructure and measurement of the digital economy. G20 also reaffirmed the importance of addressing issues of security in the use of ICTs and supporting the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge, while respecting applicable legal frameworks, and working to build consumer trust, privacy, data protection and intellectual property rights protection. G20 leaders also welcomed the G20 Repository of Digital Policies to share and promote the adoption of innovative digital economy business models. G20 recognize the importance of the interface between trade and the digital economy and indicated that they will continue their work on artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and new business platforms.

G20 also endorsed the G20 Financial Inclusion Policy Guide, which provides voluntary policy recommendations to facilitate digital financial services. G20 leaders also agreed to seek a consensus-based solution to address the impacts of the digitalization of the economy on the international tax system with an update in 2019 and a final report by 2020.

The statement is a reflection that Business 20 DEI task force recommendations are very well recognized and embraced/ adopted by G20 leaders. G20 Leaders’ declaration clearly indicates that the G20 leaders also recognize the importance of digitalization and commit to leverage digital economy as locomotive for the inclusive growth.

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