The G20 countries have the opportunity to embrace innovation and transformative technologies, recognizing different digitalization maturity levels among members, that will promote fair and sustainable development across all G20 countries and around the world.
A revolution underpinned by artificial intelligence and other technologies is already underway and will redefine the economy. Along with digital economy, these innovations can become engines of growth and inclusion, if we bridge technological divides in a socially sustainable and responsible way.
The B20 discussed ways in which digital technologies can help overcome wealth gaps and income disparities, while encouraging the share of experiences and best practices to foster the digital economy. After an extensive long process of discussions and deliberation, we, as Digital Economy & Industry 4.0 task force, are ready now to submit our policy recommendations to the G20 leaders.
Clearly, we are in defining & transformational era, where digitalization is touching & changing every aspect of our lives.
We inhabit a hyper-digital age, where technology innovations lead to smart and even disruptive digital solutions. Increasingly, digitation is becoming the key differentiator that will enable companies and in fact, even countries too, to enhance productivity levels and remain competitive.
Digital data flows are now responsible for more GDP growth, globally than trade in traditional goods, further it promises mega potential for building an inclusive society.
The inclusion, through technological advancements, means, it shall also deliver societal services like education, skilling, healthcare, and infrastructure as help institutions and even Governments engage seamlessly with all citizens.
Digital Economy & Industry 4.0 is a large canvas and part of the expanse, yet to be discovered and currently being developed though major deliberations across continents & inputs from near 200 Task Force membership, with very diverse experience
It’s very first recommendations is to address the challenge of displacement of jobs, as productivity improves through drive of digitalization. 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. To guarantee availability of key resources, to foster development of key enablers and to ensure a sustainable equitable and inclusive digitization, the business community draws the attention to the following government actions. It refers to help the workforce develop the necessary digital skills: while governments should ensure digital skills become an integral part of school curricula beginning at the elementary level, B20 recommendations also include a detailed framework for the design of an inclusive ecosystem for adult reskilling and upskilling with private-public cooperation opportunities.
The second recommendation addresses the need of promoting global connectivity & infrastructure development. To give opportunity so everyone may take equal advantage of the digital economy, infrastructure spend, to create connectivity through broadband becomes an agenda for Public or Public-Private partnership and to bridge the Digital Divide. Several recommendations are being developed for G20 leaders to facilitate private investments in digital infrastructure by reducing regulatory barriers, encouraging spectrum regulation to maximize utilization, including freeing up unused or low values use of spectrum, and others. Finally, promoting standards across national borders would allow a smooth transition for devices with no technical nor regulatory restrictions.
As cross border complexity is magnified by data & cyber security, data localization etc., another recommendation mentions enabling digital trade and international data flows Already a focus point included within the future WTO agenda recommendations, governments should agree on general principles developing interoperability mechanisms and cross-border protocols and standards for promoting privacy and security, eliminating discriminatory digital tax measures, data localization requirements & others. This is necessary as policies regulating and governing technology, specifically data, is currently highly fragmented, spanning from heavily to hardly regulated.
Fintech holds one of the greatest promises ever, to drive financial inclusion. It reduces the cost of transactions and even delivers incentives and help to the ‘less-fortunate’ members of society, directly. Thus, this recommendation focus on supporting innovation in Financial Technology that fosters financial inclusion, helping individuals to create a valid digital identity, encouraging companies to provide environments for cooperation among different players to help innovation thrive and promote common standards and specifications that are “solution-neutral”.
The integration of Physical and Virtual domains and platforms have disrupted and are re-inventing the industrial eco-system, Industry 4.0 has the potential to bring down the cost with higher productivity and catering to specific customer needs. Thus, fostering the development and uptake of Industry 4.0 technologies is another key recommendation. Manufacturing GVCs are being transformed using digital technologies such as advanced robots and additive manufacturing. In this context, governments should support the creation of an Industry 4.0 ecosystem that fosters the adaption of these new technologies, especially for MSMEs and women entrepreneurs.
Public-private collaboration through institutions such as technology centers or innovation hubs must be encouraged. Financial support and tax incentives are pivotal for development and roll-out of these new technologies.
Final word on SMEs along with women are untapped mega force of productivity and job creation. To include them through Digitization and creating eco-system which encourages them be part of growth story can be major win for any country.
We at the DEI task force, endeavor and hope through this effort, that we may bring some coherence in this thought process & can pave the way, so we may all work towards sustaining this growth opportunity. It would be win for all, if by leveraging the Digital Economy as locomotive for growth, we may improve life of the last citizen in the society.
To find more details of Digital Economy & Industry 4.0 task force, click here.
To download the Digital Economy & Industry 4.0 policy papers, click here.