International Digital Dialogues at re:publica 2024

General

The German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) was present with a booth at re:publica 2024 – the largest festival for the digital society in Europe. At BMDV’s booth, interviews and discussions with stakeholders from the International Digital Dialogues took place. Three different topics took centre stage: freedom and security in the digital space, Kenya's digital ecosystem and the role of start-ups for a sustainable digital transformation.

re:publica 2024 took place from 27 to 29 May at STATION Berlin. This year's motto was ‘Who cares?’. The focus was on the discourse on digital solutions that strengthen the common good and make society more resilient to crises. Numerous presentations, panel discussions and workshops on current social debates as well as the opportunities and challenges arising from digitalisation contributed to this discourse. 30,000 representatives from science, politics, business, civil society and the media participated in the festival in Berlin.

Parliamentary State Secretary Daniela Kluckert (BMDV) opened the talks. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

BMDV contributed an international perspective with its booth discussions. On 28 May, it organised three rounds of talks with experts from German civil society and from the partner countries of the International Digital Dialogues. Heiko Wildner, Senior Policy Officer for International Digital Policy at BMDV, moderated the talks.

How freedom and security are protected in the digital space

Parliamentary State Secretary Daniela Kluckert (BMDV) opened the first roundtable and emphasised the need for cooperation between different stakeholders to preserve digital freedom: “Protecting freedom in the digital space is a challenge that can only be mastered through close cooperation between a wide range of stakeholders from politics, civil society and academia.”

Wildner then spoke with Kathrin Morasch, member of the Steering Committee of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Germany, Zoë van Doren, Global Digitalisation and Innovation Officer at the Friedrich Neumann Foundation, and Friederike von Franqué, EU and International Governance Officer at Wikimedia.

They discussed the prospects for freedom and security in the digital space worldwide. The speakers agreed with Parliamentary State Secretary Kluckert: International cooperation between politics, science and civil society based on a shared vision is needed to protect freedom and security. According to the speakers, the difficulty lies in the fact that the views on freedom and security in the digital space differ worldwide, and therefore the approaches to protecting them are not coherent.

Stella Mokaya Orina talked about Kenya's digital ecosystem. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

How Kenya is contributing to a digital future

In a second round of talks, Wildner spoke with Stella Mokaya Orina, Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya, about Kenya's digital ecosystem. It is not only with the so-called ‘Silicon Savannah’ that Kenya is positioning itself as a pioneer in digitalisation. The country continues to shine with innovations in the financial sector, which originally helped it gain this reputation. The country is also attracting attention with enormous progress in the digitalisation of administration.

Together, they discussed the potential offered by cooperation between Kenya and Germany. In particular, they see great complementarities in the digital economy and regarding IT specialists. The Kenyan ambassador also provided insights into some challenges and opportunities that arise from the global digitalisation and explained how Kenya promotes an inclusive digital future.

Luize Ferreira pointed out that Germany and Brazil can learn a lot from each other. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

How start-ups can promote a sustainable digital transformation

Finally, BMDV held a discussion on the digital transformation in Latin America with Luize Ferreira, Brazilian co-founder of the German tech start-up Aiōn. Aiōn offers small and medium-sized enterprises software for their sustainability management. They consider many dimensions of sustainability – from ecological sustainability to sustainable growth.

Ferreira, who has lived and worked in a number of countries in addition to Brazil and Germany, offered insights into success factors for setting up a company and the role that digitalised administrative processes can play in this. She pointed out that Germany and Brazil in particular can learn a lot from each other when it comes to digitalisation.

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