In December, Brazil will preside over the G20, the forum that brings together the 20 largest economies in the world. The G20 represents more than 80% of the world’s GDP and includes countries that today lead the technological agenda such as the United States, China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.
Brazil assumes the presidency after India, Italy and Indonesia. All of these countries had something in common: they placed the issue of digital transformation as central. It may seem unlikely, but our country was once a global leader in technology. From 1996 to 2014, we served as one of the central voices in deciding how the internet should be governed.
For example, in 2007 we approved an unprecedented resolution in favor of development at the World Intellectual Property Organization. In 2014, we held one of the main global meetings on the internet in São Paulo.
As of 2014, our leading role dissolved. But he didn’t die. It was heard and assimilated by other countries, such as India, which became a champion in promoting technological agendas, including on the topic of the so-called “public digital infrastructure” (which I already wrote about here).
In today’s world, digital infrastructure is as important as physical infrastructure. It serves as a foundation for the process of contemporary social and financial inclusion. India has seen this in practice. It created a digital identity in the country, called Aadhaar. In ten years, it caused banking access in the country to jump from 17% to 80%, far exceeding the global average in 2018. We are talking about 600 million people who did not have access to financial services and now do.
India invested in two digital pillars that have equivalents in Brazil. The first is Aadhaar, for identities, launched in 2009. The system currently has 1.2 billion users. Our similar is the “Gov.br” system. Despite only being launched in 2019, it has been enjoying success.
The other project was UPI, a payment system similar to our Pix. Launched in 2016, today it is dominant. In August 2023 alone, it executed 10.5 billion transactions. Our Pix, which turns two years old this month, is also a success. It already has 138 million users.
It’s time for Brazil to take back the baton (very well handled) by India and return to the lead. We have a lot to show, and we can go further. For example, the Public Transparency Portal, created in 2004. Our DataSus (which uses blockchain). Conecta.gov.br for exchanging information between public bodies. The Electronic Invoice. And now Drex, the digital real, which can be used in smart contracts, an innovation capable of being the envy of any country.
Another leadership we can take is in artificial intelligence. The G20 is one of the main forums for this. If big tech dominates the conversation, Brazil can show how Unicamp created a kind of national ChatGPT focused on health, which can have a huge positive impact on public health.
During his presidency, Brazil has the precious chance to lead again in technological geopolitics. We can work with the 20 largest economies in the world and think about digital transformation in a different and bold way. We can help answer one of the crucial questions of our times: what do we want from technology? At the G20, we can build this response in a practical way.
It’s over Brazil’s leading role in technological governance at the international level
Already Brazil assuming the presidency of the G20
It’s coming Possibility of acting so that artificial intelligence is thought of as public digital infrastructure
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