NEWSLETTER ISSUE #6/2018
Digital transformation and trade - the future is getting closer
‘Southern Africa and the Digital Challenge: How the G20 Can Influence a Digital Turnaround in the Region’. This is the title of a chapter that TRADE was invited to write for an eBook published by the ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development) in preparation for the G20 summit held in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the beginning of December 2018. The chapter can be accessed here.
The eBook, titled How the G20 Can Sustainably Reshape the Global Trade System, covers a number of themes that are currently preoccupying G20 member countries ‒ from global economic governance and prospects for the multilateral trading system to the digital economy. The digital economy is widely acknowledged to be transformative (in a positive sense) but also disruptive. By making information more accessible and removing the traditional barrier of distance to markets, our fast-digitising world is unleashing untold new business opportunities. At the same time, though, it is creating uncertainty since the impact of technological advances is difficult to anticipate and control. This complicates the process of formulating the right policies and regulations – especially where serious shortcomings in infrastructure, skills and institutional capacity have given rise to a marked ‘digital divide’. This is particularly evident in Southern Africa. While there is a tendency to shun foreign technologies in order to protect local businesses, this serves only to widen the digital divide and retard development in the countries concerned.
If the G20 is to help foster a stronger digital culture in Southern Africa, TRADE recommends that the body give priority to the following: (1) Provide assistance in the areas of digital policy and strategy implementation; (2) Encourage a more harmonised approach to digital development and trade in the region; (3) Help to build knowledge, skills and capacity to leverage the transformative powers of the digital economy; and (4) Support greater research into digital trends and the implications for industry and trade.
The full eBook can be accessed here.
TRADE looks east - exploring trade opportunities in the Indian Ocean Rim and China with the TRADE-DSM®