The G-20 states including India have decided to encourage sharing of best practices among themselves of digital economy policy interventions, practices, lessons learned, and solutions in response to Covid-19. The world’s top 20 economies have also agreed to support MSMEs and women entrepreneurs to help overcome the digital divide. This was decided at an extraordinary meeting of G-20 ‘digital ministers’. They also decided to share best practices in the digital sphere with developing countries and regions to mitigate the immediate challenges of Covid-19 and those that may emerge in the future.
 
What
  1. This present crisis carries with it an opportunity for governments to encourage the use of our most advanced technologies in order to prevent, mitigate, treat, and defeat future pandemics, and to facilitate the development of digital innovations that will enable a full economic recovery. 
  2. The Digital Economy Task Force will encourage the dissemination of current and emerging digital tools for fighting this pandemic.
  3. Italy, the next G-20 chair, is open to support and continue dialogue on the application of advanced technologies to fight pandemics.
  4. The current G-0 Saudi Presidency will work with stakeholders and international organisations to develop a menu of policy options that will serve as a knowledge asset for governments of G-20 countries and beyond.
  5. The ministers also discussed the vulnerability of cyberspace amid increased use of digital medium. Given the increased digital vulnerability in the context of a pandemic, we will endeavour to share best practices within existing national processes to enable timely national response to counteract malicious cyber activities that present material risks to the security of the digital economy and the individuals and businesses of which it consists.
  6. The ministers also discussed the potential of digital technologies, including AI, to contribute to the fight against and prevention of pandemics by accelerating development of potential diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines, playing a critical role in diagnosis, supporting health professionals, monitoring of patients’ vital signs remotely or in the hospital, facilitating remote care through virtual care and telemedicine, optimizing hospital logistics and operations, and providing information to the public via chatbots. The ministers also called for increased investment in AI research.
Flashback
  1. The Group of 20, also called the G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world's largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union. 
  2. Formed in 1999, the G-20 has a mandate to promote global economic growth, international trade, and regulation of financial markets.
  3. Because the G-20 is a forum, not a legislative body, its agreements and decisions have no legal impact, but they do influence countries' policies and global cooperation.