Public private collaboration crucial to reap full benefits of the digital economy

  • 26 November 2015
ICC digital growth

Representatives from business, government, civil society and the technical community affirmed multistakeholder practices as efficient mechanisms for realizing the digital economy’s full potential at an IGF workshop in João Pessoa, Brazil.

Telecom Italia’s Lorenzo Pupillo, a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative, opened the workshop by drawing attention to the some important findings from academic research revealing that job displacement in the digital economy was often temporary and highlighting that while obtaining the skills needed to fill the demand for new jobs presented challenges, the digital economy has fueled significant opportunities in the global marketplace. “We have to better understand what is happening and how we can use digital technology to fully exploit this potential to create new jobs and opportunities,” he said.

Verena Weber Economist/Policy Analyst, at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) underscored the increasing number of Internet job platforms that allow a better match of demand and supply, also creating entirely new work arrangements which are increasing demand and flexibility. “The overall outcome of the digital economy on jobs is expected to be positive only if we have a sound policy framework,” Ms Weber said..

Natalija Gelvanoska, Senior ICT Policy Specialist, World Bank, described the Internet as a driver for development, and a power for job creation. Highlighting the vitality of opportunities for young people, Ms  Gelvanoska said: “Developing countries are usually very young countries and there’s a lot of youth there so they are very much technology savvy. This power can be used to bring these young people into the labor market.”

Noting the challenges many unemployed and underemployed people are facing in reaping the benefits of the digital economy, Helani Galpaya, Chief Executive Officer, LIRNEasia, provided examples from South East Asia where few people are actively engaged and participating in the digital marketplace. “You need a connection, you need awareness, you need language and most of the time this is English,” she said.

Developing countries are usually very young countries and there’s a lot of youth there so they are very much technology savvy. This power can be used to bring these young people into the labor market.

Speakers delved into a proactive discussion on the ways multistakeholder collaboration is addressing challenges and presenting new approaches to driving economic growth and social development through the digital economy.

Jose Nilo Martins, Amazon Web Services, shared perspectives on public-private partnerships in Latin American, noting how governments are increasingly becoming more open in their decision-making processes, organizing open consultations for stakeholders before setting the public policy. “Public-private partnerships have been a key component in addressing skill shortages and increasing the development of infrastructure,” Mr Martins said.

Interventions from participants highlighted the need for more extensive research focused on online labour markets and the sharing economy to identify opportunities and challenges. Flagging the importance of bringing all people together to train, learn and join this new digital era, participants called for further multistakeholder efforts to identify and address skill deficiencies that can help to better prepare work forces for the changes brought about by the Internet.

The workshop entitled Digital economy, jobs and multistakeholder practices was co-organized by the ICC BASIS and the Inter-American Development Bank. For more information on this workshop and to view the workshop report please click here.