IGF 2023 WS #443 Taxing Tech Titans: Policy Options for the Global South

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (04:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (06:00 UTC)
WS 4 – Room B-1

Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
Governing Digital Economy

Organizer 1: Gayani Hurulle, LIRNEasia
Organizer 2: Helani Galpaya, 🔒
Organizer 3: Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, South Centre

Speaker 1: Gayani Hurulle, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 3: Jeff Paine, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Alison Gillwald, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 5: Mathew Olusanya Gbonjubola, Government, African Group


Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Debate - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

(i) What are the different digital taxation policy options available to countries in the Global South? (ii) How successful have tax regimes that have already implemented solutions been? Is this a viable policy option as more and more countries implement their own solutions? (iii) Is the OECD model most suitable to all countries, including the Global South? (iv) What are the challenges in scoping out and implementing digital taxation, particularly in the Global South?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The participants will gain an understanding of (i) the various policy options available to countries in the Global South, including revenue potential from the different options, with a particular focus on whether their countries should sign the Amount A multilateral convention by end 2023 (ii) which policy options have been favoured by various countries and stakeholder groups (iii) incentives for different countries and stakeholder groups to align with different policy options (iv) implementation challenges. These in turn could help participants understand the considerations for what policy option may work best in their countries/contexts.


The digital economy has been growing in recent years. Large technology multinationals operate in and derive profits from the Global South. However, tax systems in many countries are not designed nor equipped to obtain tax revenue from these technology multinationals. Select countries such as India, Colombia, and Nigeria have unilaterally implemented their own systems. But there are concerns about the lack of cohesiveness in approach. The OECD and UN have proposed their own treaty-based solutions. However, concerns have been raised on the revenue generating potential of some multilateral proposals, as well as the timelines for implementation. The proposal is for a 90-minute debate. This focuses on whether countries in the Global South should align with OECD solution, with a specific focus on whether countries should sign up for the OECD’s Amount A Multilateral Convention – on which countries are expected to take on stance by end 2023. The speakers represent a variety of stakeholder groups (including intergovernmental organizations, technology multinationals, governments, and civil society), bringing diversity in perspectiveFurther, the speaker list is diverse from a gender, age and regional lens.

 Session breakdown: 1. Introduction to session, pre debate Menti poll to get audience perspectives (10 minutes) 2. Framing the debate (5 minutes) 3. Opening statements by speakers (6 minutes each) (25 minutes) 4. Window for speakers, moderator to comment on statements made by other speakers/ask questions from one another (10 minutes) 5. Questions/comments from audience (15 minutes) 6. One-minute summaries  7. Post-debate Menti poll to understand audience perspectives (5 minutes) 8. Summary of session, session close (10 minutes)

The speakers may not raise questions during others’ opening remarks but can engage with points made by previous speakers during their own opening remarks. The 10-minute window after the opening remarks can be used for speakers' right to reply.

Expected Outcomes

Outputs: The session organizers will draw up a policy note, drawing on points made by speakers and participants. This will be published online and shared on social media channels. Outcomes: This session is expected to help participants understand which policy option may work best in their countries/contexts. We expect this to be a basis for nuanced discussion on the topic amongst policy practitioners, and wider engagement with relevant stakeholders.

Hybrid Format: The session will have both onsite and online speakers. Online participants will be allowed to contribute by speaking and/or inputting comments and questions via the chat channel. The moderator will monitor this channel. The moderator will read out questions raised via chat aloud to allow onsite participants to follow the discussion. A platform such as Slido, which allows both online and offsite participants to type in their questions, will be used to equalize opportunities for engagement. The two polls to understand the participants’ viewpoints before and after the debate will be conducted via the platform..