Earth and digits symbolising the task of 'shaping digitalisation at global level'; Source: istockphoto.com/Yakobchuk

© istockphoto.com/Yakobchuk

Digitalisation is a driver of globalisation. Half of the world's population has access to the internet; there is hardly any company which does not rely on it for its business. Social networks, digital commerce and information platforms are bringing the world ever closer together.

Germany took over the G20 Presidency on 1 December 2016. Digitalisation is a core focus for this period, as it is a key requirement for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth. For the first time, there will be a meeting of the G20 Digital Ministers, who will come together in Düsseldorf from 6-7 April 2017 to discuss "Digitalisation: Policies for a Digital Future”.

We know that if we want to make full use of the opportunities provided by digitalisation for the benefit of all people, we will need a joint, international framework for action.

Following on from the Chinese Presidency, a Task Force for the Digital Economy will be created. This Task Force will work together with the OECD to develop a work programme that seeks to identify the core fields of digital policy in the short-term future. The aim is to use the next few years to fully harness the potential of digitalisation in the interest of economic growth and for social progress.

In the run-up to the meeting of the G20 Digital Ministers, the OECD joined with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in hosting a conference entitled “Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20”, which took place on 12 January 2017. The outcomes from the conference will be fed into the G20 Digital Ministers’ meeting.

The Digital Ministers of the G20 and of the guest countries invited (Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Singapore) will use their meeting to focus on the following three fields of action:

  1. Shaping digitisation at a global level – harnessing the potential for growth and employment
    The digital transformation comes not only with opportunities, but also with challenges – challenges which the members of the G20 want to look at and address together. It is important to use digitalisation to foster global growth. This means that existing barriers need to be identified and new solutions developed for the years ahead.
  2. Digital networking for industrial value creation – developing international standards
    Twenty-first century industry is global; companies around the world are connected with one another via the internet. There is an urgent need for international harmonisation of standards, which will ensure interoperability between different systems.
  3. Creating transparency – enhancing trust in the digital world
    In order to harness the full potential of digitalisation and the internet, transparency and trust are essential – for consumers and companies alike.