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Digitalisation and Innovation

Digital technologies have the potential to boost more inclusive and sustainable growth by spurring innovation, generating efficiencies and improving services. They are also an important tool in helping countries to confront and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted economies and societies globally. The OECD has been supporting the G20’s Digital agenda to help countries harness the benefits of the digital transformation, including job creation and business continuity, and access to critical health and education services, while addressing the potential challenges it may bring, by leveraging our cross-cutting and evidence-based analysis, and notably the OECD’s ongoing Going Digital project.

Building the digital agenda

From initial discussions in 2016 on innovation policy practices within G20 countries and the impact of new technologies in the so-called “Next Production Revolution”, the G20 has quickly seized on the importance of digital technologies for economic performance and well-being and the need for a co-ordinated global approach.

In 2017, the debate focused on designing an ambitious G20 digital agenda, leading to the adoption by Ministers of the G20 Roadmap for Digitalisation. The OECD actively contributed to the design of this comprehensive policy package, including by delivering a report on Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20, and supported initial implementation efforts with work on competition, business dynamics and consumer protection.

In 2018, the OECD broadened the evidence base and supported discussions on bridging the digital gender divide, measuring the digital economy and protecting digital consumers, as well as best practices for digital government, with particular support to the action-oriented annexes on gender and digital government of the 2018 G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration.

Digital Economy: from artificial intelligence to smart mobility

In 2019, the G20 brought strong leadership to the debate on artificial intelligence (AI) – a fast-moving technology with much promise for innovation and growth but also important challenges. Drawn from the OECD Recommendation on AI, the G20 AI Principles welcomed by G20 Leaders in Osaka marked a milestone in global co-operation on this critical technology. The OECD also supported further discussions on the key challenges faced by digital consumers, including the role of consumer protection agencies in attaining the SDGs.

In 2020, the G20 sought to advance on implementation of the AI Principles, as well as deepen discussions on topics ranging from data to smart mobility. At the same time, G20 countries had to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, with intense debate on the role of digital technologies in supporting the ongoing functioning and recovery of economies.

The OECD contributed to the G20’s deliberations across a suite of policy areas, with reports on smart mobility, a common measurement framework for the digital economy, national AI strategies and policies, data and data flows, policies to support digitalisation of business models during COVID-19, trustworthy AI in health, and trustworthy AI in education, as well as support to the G20 Dialogue on AI and pandemics. The OECD also contributed a report and presentation on measuring the economic impact of the space sector to the first-ever Space Economy Leaders Meeting (Space20).