Biggest discussion points were youth unemployment around the world; rising food and commodity prices; and energy issue; next 5 billion people; next 900 million people of rising middle class—how does the world sustain itself? ICT is quoted as a the way to break through and all recognizes this. Not a single speech went by with no mention to ICT. Heads of state (President Calderon of Mexico; Korean President Li; Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan; Russian Prime Minister Medvedev; President of France, Sarkozy) pointed out to importance and role of ICT as the big tool to get the world out of the crisis state it is in today. Almost 25% of debates revolved around entrepreneurship/technology/its role in job creation.
I made a speech at ICT roundtable on digital literacy and how public private partnerships can bridge the divide and the role of governments in supporting ICT infrastructure. Co-conveners were CEO of Infosys of India and President of China Chamber of Commerces. In presence were Telefonica CEO Izuel; Huawei Chairwoman; SEB Chairman (Swedish banking company who holds most of Ericsson and Volvo shares); Accenture CEO; Chairman of Wahaha group; McKinsey CEO; Alcatel CEO and several other attendees from South Africa; Turkey; Saudi Arabia. I also sat at the roundtable with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan—20 CEOs sat around him alongside two Turkish Ministers (Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek) and he spoke on the phenomenal success of Turkish economy and how growth was kept up by tight fiscal policy. For Russian President Medvedev’s session, he attended the plenary with a tablet in his hand and was appraised by the MEDEF President since he talked about technology issues so pervasively while embracing his tablet!
The whole Cannes G20/B20 reminded me that I am so in the right industry and ICT has the most ability to make an impact on the world!