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Past Event

How can democracies harness technology to promote inclusive economic growth and development?

Past Event

Advances in digital technology and artificial intelligence hold great promise to boost economic prosperity and address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, but they can also worsen economic disparities and even undermine democratic governance. As these technologies transform business and work, they are shifting growth and distributional dynamics in major ways—in both advanced and developing economies. Their economic and social implications are profound.

In harnessing the potential of today’s technological transformations to build inclusive prosperity, democratic societies face important questions. How can digital government advance equity and provide essential services for all? How does technological change contribute to the current rise in inequality in many countries and what are the implications for public policy? How can disruptive innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa and the Global South accelerate inclusive economic transformation and quality job creation, especially for youth, women, and sustainable development?

On March 16, the Brookings Global Forum on Democracy and Technology hosted a symposium to consider these questions and more. President of Brookings John R. Allen delivered welcoming remarks, Brookings Nonresident Fellow Priya Vora moderated a fireside chat with Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Isobel Coleman, and three separate panels of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers will discussed the complex relationship surrounding democratic societies, technology, and inequality.

Viewers submitted questions via email to or via Twitter at #TechforInclusiveGrowth.  


Opening remarks

Session I

Digital development

Hannes Astok

Executive Director, Chairman of the Management Board - Estonia’s e-Governance Academy


Chris Burns

Chief Digital Development Officer (CDDO) - USAID

Kay McGowan

Senior Director for Research, Policy, and Advocacy - Digital Impact Alliance

Pramod Varma

CTO - Ekstep Foundation

Chief Architect - Aadhaar and India Stack

Co-founder - Beckn Foundation

Session II

Technology, inequality, and public policy


François Bourguignon

Emeritus Professor of Economics - Paris School of Economics

Director of Studies - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales


Deepak Mishra

Director and Chief Executive - Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), India

Fireside chat with Ambassador Isobel Coleman

Session III

Disruptive innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Roslyn Docktor

Vice President, Technology and Science Policy and Vice President, Middle East and Africa - IBM Government & Regulatory Affairs

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