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Geopolitical fragmentation, increasing trade protectionism, climate change posing serious challenges to inclusion: Industry leaders

Global geopolitical fragmentation, increasing trade protectionism and climate change are posing serious challenges to inclusion, industry leaders said on Saturday. In a panel discussion at the B20 Summit India 2023 here, Tata Sons Chief Economist and Head of Policy Advocacy, Roopa Purushothaman said while inequality between countries has been getting better, inequality within countries has been worsening in the last few decades or more.

“As we look forward, we’re sitting amidst a group of trends that are really posing serious challenges to inclusion. One would be geopolitical fragmentation and so the idea of increasing trade protectionism and what does that mean for countries, especially in developing countries to really pursue an export strategy for growth?,” she said while moderating the discussion.

The other big thing, Purushothaman said is “climate because whenever we think about climate impact, extreme weather events, these things are hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.”

Sharing similar sentiments, International Chamber of Commerce Secretary General John Denton said inequality has not been diminishing and the global implications of the Ukraine-Russia war have also exacerbated inequality.

“It’s hurting big time in emerging economies,” he added.

McKinsey & Company Global Managing Partner Bob Sternfels said when McKinsey Global Institute took a deeper look at implications of restrictions and protectionism by industry vertical with a broader definition of trade, not just physical flows but data flows and talent flows, “the reality is anywhere between 20 and 40 per cent of global GDP is at risk”. IT company Kyndryl Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Martin Schroeter said technology can play a big role in overcoming the challenge of inclusion in growth and cited the example of India on how the government is accomplishing in bringing more people into the economy through “two straightforward approaches”. “One is to connect. This government has deployed advanced networking technologies and 5G in order to bring more people and connect them to the internet and give them access to technology and the other is to educate,” Schroeter added.

There is an opportunity here for public and private to work together to help the education process, he said.

China Chamber of International Commerce Secretary General Sun Xiao said,”Growth and inclusivity is never contradicted. It is a matter of your attitude and you will be more balanced if the business community can give a big hand.”

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