World Economic Forum Current Affairs - 2019

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India joins WEF’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance

India has joined the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance, a league of 15 of world’s leading city networks and technology governance organisations that will work towards advancing responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies.

India’s joining the league is a critical first step towards accelerating global best practices, fostering greater openness and public trust as well as mitigating risks regarding the collection of data in public spaces.

The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance

Background: The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance was established in June 2019, in conjunction with G20 Summit held in Osaka, Japan. It is an Alliance that comprises of 15 of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organisations. It seeks to create global norms and policy standards for the use of connected devices in public spaces.

Secretariat: World Economic Forum

Founding set of Institutional Partners include

  • Presidents and host nations of Group of 20 (G20) in 2019 and 2020
  • Japan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • The Smart City Mission of India
  • Cities for All
  • Cities Today Institute
  • Commonwealth Local Government Forum
  • Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network among others.

The partners represent over 2,00,000 cities and local governments, start-ups, research institutions, leading companies, and civil society organisations.

Significance: As growth and expansion of cities brings both enormous opportunities and significant challenges, these smart city technologies can help decrease traffic congestion, improve resilience during natural disasters combat crime, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, without proper governance, these technologies pose significant risk, notably to privacy and security.

Way Forward

The new global policy standards for privacy, security and sustainability of smart technologies will be rolled out in advance of 2020 G20 Summit scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The first policy design workshops with city leaders will be held in November 2019 in conjunction with Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Global Competitiveness Index, 2019

India ranked 68th in the annual Global Competitiveness Index. It is the worst performing among the BRICS nations along with Brazil that is ranked at 71. The Global Competitive Index is compiled by World Economic Forum. The Forum has mapped 141 countries using 103 indicators.

India had dropped 10 places. A number of similar economies like South Africa, Turkey and Colombia have improved over the past year and have overtaken India.

This year Singapore has replaced US as the world’s most competitive country. The US was positioned at 2nd place and was followed by Hong Kong at third place and Netherlands and Switzerland at 4th and 5th places respectively. China was ranked at 28th position and was the highest ranked among BRICS nations. Vietnam showed higher improvements in the region and was ranked at 67

The report also said that Asia Pacific was the most competitive region globally. It was followed by Europe and North America.

Key findings of the report on India

  • India ranked high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size.
  • India also ranked high in terms of corporate Governance. India was at 15th place in the category.
  • In terms of market India ranked third.
  • India had positive remarks in terms of renewable regulation.
  • In terms of innovation, India has punched above its development status. It was well ahead of most of the emerging economies that are on par with the advanced economies.
  • Poor health conditions and low Life Expectancy were the shortcomings in the country according to the report. In terms of life expectancy India ranked 109 out of 141 countries. This is one of the shortest as compared to South Asian average.
  • According to the report, India also needs to grow its skill base, market efficiency. Trade openness and worker protection rights according to the report are insufficiently developed.
  • The ratio of female workers to male workers in India was 0.26. It ranked 128th place and was very low as compared certain other developing countries.
  • India ranked 118 in incentivization and 107th place for skills

The US Economy

  • Though US performance as compared to 2018 slowed own, it scored in sub categories like employee skills, venture capital availability and business dynamism pillar
  • The decline of life expectancy in the US was huge. It was lower than China. Singapore ranked first in terms of life expectancy.

Concerns

  • The education system of the world’s largest and most innovative economies failed to keep up the pace of innovation. IT included India, China, Brazil, France and South Korea.
  • Economic stagnation was widespread. This has happened in spite of the central banks injecting more than 10 trillion dollars last year
  • Many of governments and central banks failed to use correct monetary policies to stimulate economic growth