Digitising Manufacturing in the G20 – Initiatives, Best Practice and Policy Approaches
Digitalisation is a major theme of Germany’s G20 Presidency, the motto of which is “Shaping an Interconnected World”, and is a key factor for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global economic growth. I have invited the G20 digitalisation ministers and digital industry to discuss how digitalisation can be successfully shaped. This is the first such meeting in the history of the G20.
Prior to the Digital Ministers Meeting, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy hosted the conference “Digitising Manufacturing in the G20 – Initiatives, Best Practices and Policy Approaches” in Berlin in March 2017. Issues related to the digitalisation of industry were discussed at high-level panels and in numerous workshops. The discussions provided us with key findings and pointers for the G20 process.
Digitalised industry – Industrie 4.0, as we call it in Germany – has the potential to foster the global economy via more efficient and sustainable production. New value chains are emerging, and the definition of different sectors is changing. New business models and technologies like artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing are driving the process.
The G20 countries have differing industrial structures, and the economic strengths, corporate cultures and traditions vary from country to country. For this reason, each country has to identify and utilise its specific strengths in the digitalisation process. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation in the field of Industry 4.0, for example with regard to standardisation, access to test beds, or support for small and medium-sized enterprises. The future of the economies in the G20 depends on how they master the transition to digital production.