When it comes to domestic technology policy, policymakers and politicians in developing nations are often driven by unhelpful metaphors (eg "data is the new oil") and are pushed to adopt frameworks developed by wealthier nations. International players also create a top-down demand for a given priority. For example, one participant flagged that his country was required to adopt data protection regulation as a condition for accessing an international port. Increasingly, GDPR principles have become enshrined into international trade agreements and are being presented as essential in return for certain lines of funding.
Developing countries need a seat at the table to influence the development of global technology policy. However, in many cases, they lack an overall understanding of the plethora of issues associated with the digital age. Helping developing countries free themselves from the position of "rule takers", in that sense, may require raising awareness and building capacity to be able to engage with tech policy.
It is essential that the future of technology governance includes and better reflects the points of view of developing countries. At the Commission we are contributing to the discussion and working towards crystallising policy priorities for inclusive growth in the international agenda.
Look out for our paper on tech global governance, which will be published later this year.