UK & South Africa lead Digital Commonwealth initiative

 

The UK and South Africa have agreed to co-lead the Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Agenda to facilitate exchanges of experiences, views and best practices on digital with the aim of supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development.

This is one of five clusters of activity promoted by the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda on Trade and Investment, agreed at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

Member states will cooperate across a range of areas for the development of national digital economies, including on: ICT capability; regulatory frameworks; digital infrastructure; the disruptive effects of digital trade; and the participation of women in the digital economy.

Within this framework, there will be emphasis on enabling small economies and developing countries to overcome the challenges of digitisation brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution and realise the benefits of digital trade and related investment.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: We are aiming to almost quadruple trade between Commonwealth countries by 2030, which will help to create jobs and increase incomes throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in some of the poorest and most remote countries.

“This more inclusive approach to economic growth will benefit female entrepreneurs, who own a high proportion of SMEs in developing countries, and we could add $18 billion to the GDP of developing countries if we double the number of women online.”

DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright, added: “This exciting programme will explore ways to boost digital skills, promote inclusion in the tech sector and empower more people and small businesses across the world to drive growth through digital trade.”

South African Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies MP, said: Appropriate policies and measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries benefit from the advantages of technological progress and do not suffer from lack of its early adoption. Effective policies are required to bridge the digital divides, including through supporting people to learn and by adopting new technologies and ensuring effective mechanisms for transfer of relevant technologies."

ENDS

Full release here

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