G7 performance on digitalisation
G7 Summit

G7 performance on digitalisation

The G7 has near-unparalleled influence in global digitalisation governance, and the Apulia Summit marks a renewed opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to spreading the benefits of digital technologies to everyone

In recent years, the rapid growth of digital technologies has presented a mix of unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Generative artificial intelligence systems built on advanced language models have revolutionised our understanding of machine language processing, and reshaped the discourse on disinformation and intellectual property rights. As the global internet becomes faster and more accessible, concerns over internet fragmentation are growing, with national governments seeking to impose greater control over this boundary-defying technology. Surveillance cameras are widely deployed for various smart city initiatives, simultaneously prompting a re-evaluation of privacy and individual rights. The governance of the evolving digital landscape is deeply intertwined with the G7’s core mission of promoting democracy and human rights and requires immediate and coordinated action by the G7 leaders when they meet in Apulia.


From 1975 to 2023, the G7 produced 16,967 words on digitalisation, not including information and communications technology, in its communiqués, averaging 346 words (or 2% of the total) per summit. The topic was addressed in only three of the 38 summits until 2012. Between 2013 and 2023, the G7 dedicated on average 1,502 words (11%) to digitalisation per summit. At Hiroshima in 2023, the leaders produced 4,387 words (15%), the highest ever in absolute terms.


The G7 has produced 229 collective, future-oriented and politically binding commitments on digitalisation and ICT. This puts digitalisation in 13th place, slightly behind macroeconomic policy (with 328 commitments) and before democracy (with 153 commitments). Of these digitalisation commitments, most – 163 – have been made since 2013, averaging 15 per summit. The G7 produced 37 digitalisation commitments in 2023, the highest ever.


The G7 Research Group has assessed 17 of the 229 digitalisation commitments for compliance by G7 members, and found it averaged 85%. This is significantly above the G7’s overall average of 77%. However, compliance on digitalisation has averaged 79% since 2013. Therefore, available data indicate a somewhat negative relationship between delivery on commitments and the number of commitments made.

Causes and corrections

The governance of digitalisation is complicated: the application of digital technologies cuts across many sectors and industries, from finance and green energy to health and national security. The challenge also comes from the speed of innovation, which continues to outpace policy and regulatory responses from G7 policymakers. Based on available data, however, the G7 can consider two ways to improve performance in governing the digital sphere.

First, G7 leaders can refer to relevant institutional bodies in writing their commitments, to catalyse compliance. In the past, G7 compliance with digitalisation commitments was particularly high when the commitments referred to an institutional body such as the Digital Opportunities Taskforce (100%), the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence (94%) and the Genoa Plan of Action (88%).

Second, G7 leaders can take advantage of the strong momentum on AI governance through ambitious, focused deliberations and decision making on AI. The two assessed AI-related commitments have high compliance scores of 100% and 94%, respectively. The topic has also seen rapid development of global governance since 2023. In October 2023, G7 leaders issued a statement on the Hiroshima AI Process as well as guiding principles and a code of conduct for organisations developing AI systems. In November, the United Kingdom hosted the first AI Safety Summit to facilitate international collaboration on AI risk management; in December, the G7 digital ministers released the Hiroshima AI Process Comprehensive Policy Framework, which included intra-G7 project-based collaboration and represented the first successful international framework comprising guiding principles and a code of conduct to address the impact of advanced AI systems. In the same month, the GPAI Summit was held in India, a G20 member, as a multi-stakeholder initiative to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI. These institutional developments have laid a solid foundation supported by shared values for the G7 to coordinate policy and engagement efforts to expand global buy-ins to its unified vision for building safe, trustworthy and human-centric AI.

The G7 is defined by having the world’s most advanced technological capacities as well as a shared mission to promote democracy and individual liberty. This unique combination equips it with near-unparalleled influence in global digitalisation governance – and the Apulia Summit represents yet another opportunity for the leaders to demonstrate their commitment to spreading the benefits of digital technologies to all of humanity.