HIGH LEVEL EXCHANGE PANEL: Governance models to promote inclusive and diverse business development – what stands in the way? "Tuesday 7 December 13.45 - 14.45 CET"


We all live in a digital world that we want to see as open and safe. We all wish to trust and to be trusted. How can we create a safe digital environment in which long-established and start-up businesses can grow? How do we ensure no one is left behind in the emerging digital economy? What are the good practices in self-regulation and regulation that can be leveraged to for digital businesses models to flourish? Are there particularly complex areas that need to be addressed through regulation? What are the alternative governance models? And if we are to regulate – how to do so in a way that does not stifle innovation, but rather, fosters a diversity of businesses models, respects human rights, and promotes sustainable development?

We need to work together as a global community to reach a viable and operational consensus on these controversial issues. There is a challenge in finding the right balance between different governance mechanisms available to address these issues. It is obvious that Governments should protect their people, but this must be done in a collaborative, inclusive manner, with all stakeholders involved in co-creating a digital environment that is diverse and inclusive.

The discussion will focus on governance models that mitigate the risks of big tech concentration; fair taxation for the benefit of local economies and communities; digital platforms regulation, including the protection of privacy, ethical use of AI, and freedom of expression; data governance and users’ ability to understand and control their own data; and re-use of non-personal data to build liquid and trusted data markets that will drive global economic growth.

Mr. Mario Cimoli

Mario Cimoli is the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). With over twenty years of experience in the UN, he is responsible for overseeing and coordinating multi-disciplinary and inter-divisional working groups, substantive institutional documents, and advisory services to ECLAC member governments on development issues.

Moderator: Ms. Samira Mahdaoui

Samira Mahdaoui Khabthani holds a Master's degree in journalism and information sciences and a Master's degree in information and communication technologies from IPSI - Press Institute and Information Sciences in Tunis, and is well versed in new information technologies and in good Internet governance. During her previous professional experiences, she had the opportunity to work on numerous reporting projects focused on the issues of youth involvement in public policy choices at the national and Mediterranean levels.

Ms. Renata Ávila

Renata is an international lawyer, author and advocate. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in access to knowledge, freedom of expression, policymaking and global digital rights. Renata is an Affiliate with the Stanford Institute of Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. Renata is part of the World Economic Forum Expert Network on Digital Technologies and a member of the Global Board of Trustees of Digital Future Society, among other affiliations in a vast professional network extending across Europe, Latin America and North America.

Mr. André Xuereb

André Xuereb is a quantum physicist from Malta. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Malta, where he leads the Department of Physics, lectures undergraduate classes in atomic and quantum physics, and leads the quantum research group.

Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen

Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen is the Chair of the IGF's Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). She was the executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) - the largest ICT-focused civil society network in the world - from 2000 to 2016.

Ms. Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni is the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies. She holds an MBA degree from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. She is also a graduate of Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), where she read for her undergraduate degree in Political Science and concurrently completed two postgraduate degrees in Development Studies and Labour Relations. She matriculated from Mbilwi Secondary school in Sibasa, Limpopo. Mbilwi remains one of the best performing public schools.

Mr. John Frank

John Frank is Microsoft’s Vice President, UN Affairs. Mr. Frank leads the team which focuses on deepening Microsoft’s engagement with the UN and International Organizations by identifying new projects to advance global multi-stakeholder action on key technology, environmental, humanitarian, development and security goals as well as helping to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Mark Williams

Mark Williams is Practice Manager for Global Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Development Global Practice. He is an economist with over 20 years of experience in the economics, regulation, and strategy of the digital sector, covering a range of specialist areas including strategy, policy, regulation, financial analysis corporate restructuring, and litigation.