By Shinta Widjaja Kamdani
This year’s G20 summit will perhaps be the most significant moment in the forum’s history since its founding moment during the 2008 financial crisis. November’s meeting of leaders of the world’s twenty largest economies in Bali will be the first time that the leaders of both Russia and Ukraine will attend the same forum since the outbreak of the Ukraine war in January.
As the US Government’s National Security Strategy defined it earlier this month – we are now facing a ‘decisive decade’ as an international community, at a moment where the ‘post-Cold War era is definitively over’.
We are faced, as a global community, with a critical contradiction: the world is as divided as it ever has been, yet the years to come will be defined, more than anything else, by shared challenges. And even as sovereign independence is greater than ever, so is our interdependence in a globalised world.
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In this new world –collaboration and co-operation will be critical. More than ever before, there is the opportunity for countries like India and Indonesia to play a leadership role in bringing the world together around a shared, more inclusive vision for the future.
As Chairwoman of the B20 – the G20’s Business forum – I have seen these opportunities for leadership and joint action from the perspective of the private sector.
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Business has always been the engine of global progress, and it will continue to play that role in the years to come. A recognition of this fact has led Indonesia to place business at the heart of its approach to the G20 Presidency – championing the role the private sector plays in addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time: whether they be climate change, digitalisation, or education.
I believe that this is the unique capability of the G20, and the economic might that it summons.
The G20 can fundamentally differentiate itself from other multilateral organisations, and carve out a role for itself in this new global order as an organisation which can see beyond the divisions and alignments which too often characterise geopolitics, and move towards bringing together our international business ecosystem to drive positive change.
This has been a focus of Indonesia’s efforts: creating and maintaining more effective forums for business collaboration between different countries, different regions, and the developed and developing worlds. This does not only apply to giant multinationals, but also to the MSMEs that are the driving force of the global economy, and the wellspring of human ingenuity and innovation that we will so urgently need over the next generation.
Our B20 business roadshow has met with business leaders from all around the world to champion these efforts, and we have made significant progress in bringing business together – regardless of geopolitics. Through this experience, I have not seen the ‘deglobalisation’ effect that some have highlighted – businesses, more than ever, are seeking new opportunities to collaborate across borders.
I believe that India is ideally positioned to carry these efforts forward. India is one of the world’s foremost economic engines, and will play an ever-increasing role in powering the global economy in the years to come.
How can India make the most of its G20 Presidency in this regard? This, of course, will be up to President Narendra Modi and the country’s B20 Sherpa – Minister Piyush Goyal. There are real opportunities in some of the areas where India thrives: entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, for instance, for India to increasingly carve out a leadership role.
Driving forward the mission and the capabilities of a multilateral organisation is never easy. Doing so will require significant political capital and institutional effectiveness, as well as a laser-like focus on priority areas.
Yet I believe that India is well-poised to play this role, particularly given the country’s natural economic advantages and the philosophy of non-alignment and collaborative diplomacy that it has championed since India’s dependence.
A focus on remaking the G20 in the image of the non-alignment that India has championed since its independence, and on forging stronger business relationships and partnerships across the global economy, is a good place to start.
Author is Chairwoman of the B20 & Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Sintesa Group.
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