G20 ministers call for harnessing digital technologies to create opportunities for all

Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit Issues Statement on Coronavirus

Ministers responsible for the Digital Economy of the Group of Twenty (G20) explored opportunities to harness digital technologies to realize opportunities of the 21st century for all during their meeting on Wednesday under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the Group.

As our societies and the global economy digitalize, there are even greater opportunities to advance standards of living through human-centric; data-driven, and evidence-based policy, increased economic competitiveness, higher-quality jobs, enhanced provision of public services; in cities of all sizes and communities in remote and rural areas.

More inclusive societal participation of people from all backgrounds; the ministers said.

Digitalization also poses challenges including how to bridge digital divides, and develop effective policies and strategies; that are innovative as well as agile, flexible, and adapted to the digital era; while addressing anti-competitive practices, safeguarding privacy, advancing security, building trust, and reducing inequalities.

Digitalization is also increasing the importance of boosting job opportunities; increasing market access for Micro; Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), they added.

They called for an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment; protecting and empowering consumers; ensuring the safety and stability of supply chains in relevant areas, and advancing inclusiveness and human-centricity more broadly; noting the importance of the environmental impact of digitalization and introducing a gender lens.

Most importantly; the ministers stressed the importance of the digital economy and policy discussions; to sustain progress on the implementation and achievements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The ministers said that they recognize that universal, secure, and affordable connectivity is a fundamental enabler of the development of the digital economy and a catalyst for inclusive growth; innovation, and sustainable development.

Closing gaps

They underlined the importance of initiatives related to advancing digital connectivity infrastructure; digital skills, and awareness, the affordability of Internet services and devices, closing the digital gender gap, and the relevance of digital content.

There is a need to close the gaps in these areas and the importance of working with stakeholders; to connect humanity by accelerating global Internet penetration, especially in remote and rural areas; the ministers stressed.

They emphasized the role of connectivity, digital technologies, and policies in accelerating our collaboration and response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and enhancing our ability to prevent and mitigate future crises.

Above all the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promoting a human-centered approach to artificial intelligence.

G20 members vowed to share experiences; and good practices for data policy, in particular interoperability and transfer mechanisms and identifying commonalities between existing approaches and instruments used to enable data to flow across borders with trust; reaffirming the importance of the interface between trade and the digital economy.