Investment and the Digital Economy

in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
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23 October 2018
14:30 - 17:30 Europe/Zurich

The rapid rise of digital economy - the application of internet-based technologies to the production and trade of goods and services - has reshaped how we consume, produce and trade. It has also transformed global investments, created new markets and even provided new avenues for tackling persistent development problems.While ubiquitous for developed countries, digital economy development remains a challenge for most developing and least developed countries. Some 3.8 billion people, according to ITU, have never been online - and they are concentrated in Asia-Pacific and Africa. This digital divide, born out of a lack of investment, capacity or structural problems, makes the journey to digitalization a complex one.This session, organized in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), will gather investors of the digital economy to discuss best practices in investing for digital economy development. Speakers -ranging from infrastructure providers, financial backers, and digital firms- will discuss the current and future state of investment in the digital economy, their role and interconnectedness, along with innovative practices and policies that have facilitated them in channeling investments to help close the digital divide. Insights from this session will also feed into the work of United Nations Secretary General’s High-level Panel of Digital Cooperation.

Issues for the debate

  • What kind of investments are needed for digital economy development?
  • What are the challenges to mobilizing investments towards digital economy development?
  • What kind of innovative practices or policies help facilitate investment for digital economy development?


Undersecretary, Trade and Investments Promotion Group (TIPG), Philippines
Head Corporate Strategy, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA)
Principal Investment Officer, Singularity Investments
Partner, Omidyar Network
CEO, Vertex Holdings
Senior Director, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Intel, Latin America
Deloitte Africa & Chairman of the Board, Ecommerce Forum Africa
Vice President, Global Initiatives, Alibaba
Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union
Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
VP, Global Government Affairs, Huawei


Deloitte Africa & Chairman of the Board, Ecommerce Forum Africa
Head of Investment Research, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD