The G20 confirms the importance of the digital economy for global development

The joint declaration issued after the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Salta includes proposals to reduce the digital gender divide, transform the government, measure the digital economy and accelerate digital infrastructure.

“We note that, in order to advance human-centric policies, a fair, predictable, transparent and competitive business environment, and inclusive growth in the digital era, it is essential to continue our dialogue and work towards improving digital market access for consumers and businesses, particularly in developing countries, as well as our understanding of the market impact of emerging technologies and new business models, like online platforms.“

At the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Salta, in the north-west of Argentina, G20 ministers and senior officials issued a declaration that reflects the G20’s commitment towards promoting “policies and actions that catalyze digital transformations.”

Built upon the consensus achieved under the Chinese and German presidencies, the document acknowledges that digitalization is a powerful enabler of inclusive economic growth. It encourages G20 countries to better understand new business models to accelerate the digital economy in an inclusive, transparent and competitive manner.

The declaration also lists requirements for a thriving digital economy. These include an effective and high-quality infrastructure system, an environment that supports innovation and enabling legal frameworks, and promoting the free flow of information, knowledge and ideas.

The recommendations in the document seek to help reduce the digital gender divide, accelerate digital infrastructure, transform the government and measure the new economy.

With respect to digital inclusion, the declaration reads that “in many countries the digital gender divide remains large.” It adds that “G20 countries have an extraordinary opportunity to implement policies and actions that accelerate the full integration of women into the digital economy.” Delegates also included an appendix with concrete recommendations such as setting specific goals, eliminating stereotypes and promoting female digital entrepreneurship.

In terms of infrastructure, the document alludes to “the G20 common goal of promoting universal and affordable access to the internet by all people by 2025” and describes universal connectivity as “a powerful enabler of inclusive growth and sustainable development.”

It considers digital government as well, calling for “an agile, innovative, integrated and data-driven public sector,” one that makes a crucial contribution towards developing the digital economy.

Agreed by all member countries, the document also addresses emerging digital technologies and the challenge of capturing the benefits of digitalization to improve productivity. It also highlights “the importance of supporting entrepreneurs and MSMEs.”