As the world bounces back from the effects of the pandemic, there is a need of concerted, combined and coordinated efforts towards ensuring sustainable single-speed recovery, while addressing rising challenges of inequality, climate change, and technology advance & adaptation.
CII, in collaboration with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), organized the 27th edition of The Partnership Summit from 13-15 December 2021. Under the theme “Partnering for Building a New World: Growth, Competitiveness, Sustainability, Technology”, it carried forward the agenda of strengthening partnerships between India and the world.
There were 9 tracks up for discussion, namely Growth, Sustainability, Technology, Trade, Investments, G20, Social Dimension, Geopolitics and Competitiveness, each of which covered a wide array of diverse topics. The summit covered 50 sessions including 7 country sessions. There were nearly 200 speakers from more than 40 nations, which included 25 global CEOs, 20 overseas ministers, 7 Indian ministers and more than 100 Heads of Institutions/Leaders/Experts from around the world.
The year 2021 saw India’s economy bounce back significantly, which captured global attention. It is set to be the world’s fastest growing economy over the next few years. The tools available to the world to keep up the momentum in the post-pandemic era were discussed across sessions with global experts speaking about the reforms that economies need to undertake following the stimulus measures during the Covid-19 period. Vaccination was seen as a key requirement for equitable growth as also safe travel and unlocking private investments through finance, including green finance.
Healthcare and vaccinations assumed centrestage through multiple discussions. The need to additional science investments, higher vaccination availability, better surveillance and other solutions were brought forward.
Speakers mentioned that India’s reform agenda has been intensive over the past few years, with GST, elimination of retrospective tax, reduction in corporate tax rates etc. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat program of self reliance will further add to the momentum.
As India is set to take over the G20 Presidency from 1 December 2022, the G20 members also participated in consultations and discussions in various engagement groups with policy suggestions on relevant issues. There were dedicated sessions on G20 Leadership on themes of Business 20, Civil 20, Youth 20, Labour 20, Science 20, Think 20 and Women 20.
With discussions on how to ensure competitive investment environments and businesses, the Partnership Summit looked at new opportunities and collaborations to drive global growth by addressing global challenges. Nations discussed ways to build up their competitive strengths as per their natural advantages and resources, while also ensuring the competitiveness of businesses. Issues such as supporting small enterprises, workers and entrepreneurs and escalating digital infrastructure were seen as key aspects of competitiveness to be addressed. Speakers also mentioned about forging global partnerships to support low income groups.
The track focused on the role of the various policies in shaping the trade environment as well as future business opportunities. One very important topic of discussion was that of global growth. Global leaders discussed reforms and measures that need to be put in place to ensure a seamless functioning of global supply chains, thereby building resilient trade. Ease of doing business, trade facilitation and sectors of IT, agriculture, pharmaceuticals were discussed as focus areas. Tourism, climate change and infrastructure connectivity can also be stepped up for trade.
India is focusing on 6 areas to achieve its target of $400 billion in exports, namely, new FTAs, promotion of FDI, measures to make India a node in the supply chains, ease of doing business, innovation and meeting sustainability targets. It has also undertaken a fresh approach to FTAs which are now increasingly deeper and wider.
With significant investments in infrastructure and the various PLI schemes, the Indian GDP is back to pre-COVID levels. India is on the path to sharp recovery path. Drivers of investment in today’s interconnected world and India’s offerings for attracting global investments were explored during the discussions. Railways, civil aviation, and the policies for infrastructure, monetisation of assets and Gati Shakti for coordination will help India become a better investment destination.
Thought leaders and global CEOs gathered to discuss efforts made by nations to mitigate the effects of climate change. Discussions and key recommendations included the various measures and reforms countries must take to protect communities and natural habitats; restore ecosystems; and build defences, resilient agriculture practices and infrastructure in light of the climate emergency. The role of businesses is critical for a net zero world and all enterprises need to take action across the supply chains. Key sectors such as power, road transport and agriculture should be taken up for lowering carbon emissions. India’s efforts towards green energy and net zero commitments were appreciated.
Digitisation has played an extremely pervasive role in nearly every sector. Sessions focused on the way technology is driving new business opportunities and how emerging contours of new technologies can benefit nations around the world. Thought leaders explored the efforts to be made towards developing inclusive business models and making societies more resilient through better adoption of technology.
With social entrepreneurship and responsible corporate citizenship gaining traction, businesses came together to consider how to best work with communities and societies in line with the goals of SDG. Top leaders highlighted the importance of corporate social responsibility and stressed on steps to be taken to ensure that recovery efforts are equitable, inclusive and lead to sustainable development.
With new challenges and emerging alliances, the geopolitical equations and relationships between countries and between regions are in a state of flux. Nations came together to closely examine evolving joint solutions and deliberate on the nuances of inter-country relationships and implications for economies and businesses. It was suggested that India can play an important role in the emerging scenario.
The Partnership Summit once again reiterated the need for discussions at the global level to strengthen growth and jointly address common challenges.
All sessions may be viewed on CII Youtube channel.