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The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

Despite the move to digital, the concept of the ‘digital economy’ still needs to be explored. In 2022, the Indonesian Presidency will lead a working group (upgraded from the previous task force) to oversee the digital economy, a central agenda item for the G20.

The first meeting was held in 2017 under the German Presidency, following the Chinese Presidency’s establishment of a Digital Task Force in 2016.The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

The group has made measuring the digital economy and what it represents a key initiative theme. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the G20 has recognized the importance of the digital economy.

The G20 does have a digital economy working group, however. As a group, how have the G20’s priorities changed in the last few years, underlining the importance of the group?

Bridging The Digital Divide

Digital interaction remains another characteristic of the digital economy. To grow the digital economy, barriers to access to basic digital products and services must be removed to facilitate internet connectivity.

Since 2016, the G20 has raised this as an important issue, especially in the DEWG. Digital can be viewed from many angles. In one sense, it highlights the digital divide between the developing and developed worlds.

In addition, it highlights how individuals from different socioeconomic strata can leverage the digital economy. Additionally, it focuses on the gender gap and the gap between vulnerable groups and others.

Thus, bridging the digital divide will address multiple issues and ensure equitable digital growth. The G20 has shown its intent to solve the challenges imposed by the digital divide in the last five years by taking various initiatives.

A focus of the G20 is also on empowering individuals in employment and helping small and medium-sized businesses (in particular MSMEs) take advantage of technology’s benefits.The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

To improve female participation in the labour force, the German Presidency launched the #eSkillsforgirls initiative in 2017.

According to the then-task force under the Argentine Presidency in 2018, bridging the digital divide is essential for improving employment opportunities and remaining competitive in the ‘Future of Work’ era, in which automation and technology will play a significant role.

Protecting Businesses And Consumers

The digital economy is increasing the number of stakeholders involved in securing this realm. There is a shift in business (big and small) toward digital operations. Several actors can access and use digital spaces to acquire products and services.

Thanks to e-commerce, cab services through apps, grocery shopping and movie ticket booking, a growing number of consumers have gotten involved in the digital economy.

Digital content is also popular with children and seniors. Securing the digital economy is crucial to its smooth operation. Security has been a priority for G20 members before and after the pandemic.

A G20 meeting under the Italian Presidency in 2021 discussed using blockchain technologies to ensure safety, transparency, and accountability for consumers and businesses.The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

MSMEs and other small businesses are encouraged to ensure security in the digital economy as a risk management strategy during the Saudi Arabian Presidency.

As part of its initiatives to empower and protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers, the G20 launched its ‘Toolkit for Protecting Digital Consumers’ in 2018.

A high increase in online shopping during the pandemic led to a focus on consumer awareness and empowerment by the G20 in 2021.

DEWG, under the G20, has been working extensively to highlight the need to protect small business owners, big firms, and consumers involved in the digital economy.

How Will India’s Agenda Shape Up?

The first DEWG meeting of the year was completed in the third week of February. Press Information Bureau reports the discussion focused on three main areas: digital public infrastructure (DPI), cyber security, and digital skills.

An important aspect of the Indian economy is its digital economy. Indian data show that the digital economy grew 2.4 times faster than the overall economy over all sectors, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Around 62.4 million workers (11.6 per cent of the workforce) rely on digital technologies, according to the report. ‘Digital India’, launched in 2015, assists in a fast-growing digital economy.

The working group has taken a quasi-ambitious approach given its priorities this year. During the G20 meeting, a new working group introduces the DPI.

Aadhaar and UPI are examples of DPI’s contributions to the digital economy. The G20 can use such ecosystems to advance their digital economies.

Several G20 members do not utilize DPI at the national level, so DEWG needs to delve into what constitutes these ecosystems. Cyber-threat mitigation has been a priority for the G20 leaders, not securing the digital economy.The Increasing Importance Of The Digital Economy In The G20

Defining a shared vision for the DEWG and India’s Presidency aligns with what has been discussed in previous meetings. Digital Skilling has, however, been a consistent theme for the group.

As part of the Indonesian Presidency’s 2022 program, it also released a toolkit delineating how digital skills and literacy are measured to understand a society’s digital literacy level better.

As per the Indian Presidency’s initiative, the country can focus on digitally skilling its population to improve job outcomes. In the G20, the DEWG remains one of the core working groups where India can make a real difference.

India’s achievements in DPI, its commitment to securing the digital economy and its vision to carry forward previous G20 initiatives on digital skilling will help the DEWG achieve concrete outcomes that will set a precedent for future G20 presidency terms.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

Nandana Valsan
Nandana Valsan
Nandana Valsan is a Journalist/Writer by profession and an 'India Book of Records holder from Kochi, Kerala. She is pursuing MBA and specializes in Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s best known for News Writings for both small and large Web News Media, Online Publications, Freelance writing, and so on. ‘True Love: A Fantasy Bond’ is her first published write-up as a co-author and 'Paradesi Synagogue: History, Tradition & Antiquity' is her second successful write-up in a book as a co-author in the National Record Anthology. She has won Millenia 15 Most Deserving Youth Award 2022 in the category of Writer. A lot of milestones are waiting for her to achieve. Being a Writer, her passion for helping readers in all aspects of today's digital era flows through in the expert industry coverage she provides.


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