Exploring the future of global value chains

18 – 19 September 2017 | Kiel, Germany

How can we make the most out of the digital age for developing more inclusive and sustainable global value chains (GVCs)? This will be one of the key questions addressed at a conference to be organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), the Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) from 18-19 September in Kiel, Germany.

Over the past two decades, GVCs have created new opportunities for developing and emerging countries to increase their participation in global markets and diversify their economies. But while GVCs have helped many developing nations to grow their economies, some countries and their small- and medium-sized enterprises and workers are still being left out.

“The concepts of inclusiveness and sustainability must be placed at the forefront of policy making if the GVCs are to deliver greater benefits to developing countries,” said UNIDO Managing Director, Fatou Haidara. “In organizing this conference, we aim to further advance our understanding of how GVCs contribute to the economic development of nations. We would also like to use this as an opportunity to forge future partnerships with key stakeholders.”

The event will bring together academics, policymakers and representatives from international organizations and businesses to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the proliferation of GVCs. The podium discussions and presentations will examine the potential of digital technologies and related policies for ensuring all countries can benefit from global production sharing in a sustainable manner.

“Global value chains link the production, employment and consumption activities in different parts of the world,” said Kiel Institute’s President, Dennis J. Snower. “While digitalization accelerates this development, digital technology can also be used to track and improve sustainability and inclusiveness along the GVCs. The finding of the conference will be incorporated into the work of our network of G20 think-tanks (Think20)) and serve to make significant contributions to future G20 summits.”

The conference will also delve into current research on GVCs and explore ways to translate the lessons learnt from the Asian integration in global production networks into smart strategies for Africa and other developing regions.

The conference, with themes that reflect the interests of the G20 under Germany’s presidency, will be organized under the auspices of the Think20 network and co-sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This highlights the strong commitment and desire from the partnering institutions to strengthening applied research, policy and capacity building efforts in this key area of international trade and investment.