Over 300 businessmen Monday took part in a meeting in Bilbao of the Business 20 (B20) –a corporate forum of the G20. The companies present at the meeting are at the vanguard of digitalization and industry 4.0. At the start of the event, José Manuel González-Páramo, BBVA Executive Board member and vice president of one of the B20 task forces, called for “greater cooperation between the public and private sectors” to meet the challenges posed by the new digital economy.
Executive Board Director and Chief Officer Global Economics, Regulation and Public Affairs at BBVA, opened his address to the meeting by recalling the bank’s origins from its creation in 1857 as Banco Bilbao. Along with Banco Vizcaya (which was created later), the banks spearheaded the development of the city and the region hand-in-hand with the initiatives that emerged with technology as the motor of economic development.
He reminded the meeting that currently the massive adoption of digital technologies obliges all industrial sectors to overhaul their way of working and doing business, creating a new open and positive culture in the face of this change. BBVA sees this technological revolution as “an opportunity for growth, higher productivity and a reduction of inequality”.
In his opinion, BBVA’s “technological optimism” mirrors the banner of the B20 Digital Economy and Industry 4.0 task force. “This new digital environment is the engine of growth, financial inclusion and transparency”, he said.
José Manuel González-Páramo focused on digital financial inclusion. In his judgment, technology is becoming a force in favor of equality, providing access to financial services due to mobile technology. How can one make technology act to the benefit of everyone? The BBVA executive director suggested a virtuous triangle with three sides:
- Digital development driven by governments through digital infrastructure.
- A modernized regulatory framework adapted to the new digital challenges that is global, holistic and flexible.
- Financial education through initiatives such as BBVA’s global program, which has trained two million children and young people and 400,000 adults.
B20 in the face of the challenges of the digital economy
José Manuel González-Páramo attended the opening ceremony of the event held at the Guggenheim Museum along with the counselor of Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government, Arantxa Tapia, the B20 sherpa Carolina Castro and Emiliano López Atxurra, the chairman of Tecnalia.
The B20 meeting in Bilbao provided a unique opportunity to debate on the digital economy and industry 4.0 with the success of the Basque Country a case in point. The event was preceded by a meeting headed by the Basque First Minister, or lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, the counselor for Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government, Arantxa Tapia and representatives of BBVA, TECNALIA, CAF, Gestamp, Petronor and Siemens, among other companies.
BBVA has played an active role in the B20 since 2015 as a member of the task force on Financing Growth and Infrastructure of which José Manuel González-Páramo is one of the vice presidents.