India uses G20 presidency to champion Global South and digital public infrastructure
India assumed the G20 Presidency in December under the theme “One Earth, One Family, One Future.” A goal for the presidency is promoting participation of the Global South in multilateral discourse that will shape the global agenda. Historically, developing countries as a group have not been prominent in most multilateral discussions that shape globalism.
Priorities for India’s presidency include technological transformation and work on digital public infrastructure and reform multilateral institutions, according to a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
DPI can be a tool for inclusive growth for the Global South. Extending full digital ID coverage alone could unlock economic value of 3 percent in mature economies and 6 percent in emerging economies.
Additionally, DPI is associated with increased access to emergency payments. Throughout the pandemic, 166 governments launched cash-transfer programs. Countries with some level of DPI reached an average 51 percent of their populations, while those without reached only 16 percent.
The rise of DPI in India has already altered the landscape of the nation’s economic structure. Informal transactions make up 85 percent of its economy. In January alone, nearly $200 billion worth of informal transactions were carried out. The 8 billion transactions involved 300 million people and 50 million merchants.
Considering that in 2017, cash accounted for 90.9 percent of overall payment transaction volume in India, the widespread uptick in digital payments suggests the potential for DPI to further transform emerging economies.