12 January 2024, Geneva, Switzerland - Join us in Geneva on 15-16 February 2024 for an interactive conference on the economic impact of the digital economy. Through a hackathon followed by presentations and panel discussions with reputed experts, we will explore the use of digital finance innovations to create economic opportunities that will contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world.


Register for the Hackathon (15 February)

Register for the Panel Discussions and Reception (16 February)

Registration is required to participate. You are encouraged to join both the hackathon and conference.


Over the last decade, the digital economy and its volume and impact on the real economy have become a major focus of study. It continues to challenge us with its evolving nature, impact, and scale.

Some of the largest economic units on the planet are top digital firms. Apple, with USD2.88 trillion market capitalization (as of January 2024), and Microsoft (USD2.86 trillion) approach the 2023 GDP (in purchasing power parity) of the Republic of Korea, the world’s 14th largest national economy. Alphabet (USD1.79 trillion) is near the size of Egypt (18th largest economy), and Amazon (USD1.62 trillion) is similar to Taiwan, Province of China (22nd). 

According to the World Bank, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector accounted for over six per cent of global GDP in 2022. The Digital Cooperation Organization, a Saudi government-led initiative, estimates the digital economy will contribute 30 per cent of global GDP and create 30 million jobs by 2030. 

Technologies are also continuously evolving and new ones emerging. While technologies like cryptocurrencies and blockchain, central bank digital currencies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning offer numerous benefits, deploying them responsibly and ethically is crucial to ensure that they have positive impacts on sustainable development. This requires addressing regulatory considerations, ethical concerns, and the potential for unintended consequences, among others.

The size and vigour of the digital economy make it a centre of convergence of what is good and bad in the world economy. This is the starting point of the discussion proposed by UNITAR. Together with digital technology innovators, regulators, experts, and practitioners from the financial sector, we will address the question: How can we embrace digital finance innovations to strengthen our efforts in achieving inclusive and sustainable development?


Digital Finance Hackathon (in-person, Geneva) – register for the hackathon
15 February 8:00–18:30 CET (UTC+1)
16 February 8:00–12:00 CET (UTC+1)

Presentations and Panel Discussions (in-person, Geneva) – register for the presentations and panel discussions
16 February 12:00–17:30 CET (UTC+1)
Panel discussions will also be made available live via Zoom.

Cocktail Reception
16 February 17:30–20:00 CET (UTC+1) – included in registration for presentations and panel discussions

15 FEBRUARY 2024


Calling all innovators! How do you envision the future of the digital economy and what hurdles do you want to overcome? How would you embrace digital finance to strengthen efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable development? What challenges do you want to address?

Bring your challenges and colleagues to our hackathon! Come use your creativity, problem-solving skills and awareness of responsible development of digital economy solutions and work on innovation challenges in groups – to learn, network and build solutions together.

Everyone is encouraged to participate; you do not need to be an expert in digital finance or economics. The hackathon will give you an opportunity to meet others, exchange ideas and gain a deeper understanding of digital finance technologies, trends and their implications on the economy. Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided, so you can network between hackathon sessions as well.

Groups will also have the chance to share their solutions with others, including technology innovators, regulators, experts and practitioners from the financial sector attending the panel discussions and cocktail reception on 16 February.

Register to participate in the hackathon (required).

Venue: UNITAR Headquarters, World Meteorological Organization (7 bis, Avenue de la Paix, CH-1201 Geneva 2, Switzerland)

16 FEBRUARY 2024


Ready to share your work and demonstrate your commitment to addressing challenges and opportunities in the digital economy space?

Continuing from the previous day, groups will spend the morning of 16 February preparing a pitch to present in the afternoon, before the panel discussions. Additionally, each group will create a visual that will be displayed in the innovation showcase area during the cocktail reception. This pitch and showcase will provide participants with a tangible way to demonstrate their work and commitment to addressing challenges and opportunities in the digital economy.


Venue: UNITAR Headquarters, World Meteorological Organization (7 bis, Avenue de la Paix, CH-1201 Geneva 2, Switzerland)

Ready to explore the potential and navigate the challenges of the digital economy? Join us on the afternoon of 16 February for presentations and dynamic panel discussions. Be inspired and informed by discussions among reputed experts from the private sector, international organizations and academia.

Welcome Address – Mihoko Kumamoto, Director of Division for Prosperity

Division for Prosperity Director Mihoko Kumamoto will open the afternoon by introducing the key themes of the conference.

Innovation Showcase – Unveiling Solutions

Learn about the pressing challenges that were addressed during the digital finance hackathon. Each hackathon group will make a short pitch to share their ideas and innovations on how these challenges can be addressed. Get inspired by the participants’ collaboration, creativity and commitment!

Inaugural Address

The inaugural address will reflect on the impact of the digital economy and some of the most pressing issues of our times: overwhelming complexity, disequilibria, conflict and challenge.

Panel 1 – Digital Transformation of the Global Economy: Balancing Innovation and Regulation

Let’s delve into the impact of digital transformation and reflect on what is needed to find an effective balance between fostering innovation and upholding financial stability, security and fairness. In this discussion, experts will share their insights on the impact of digital transformation on sustainable development and the role regulation plays in shaping the digital finance landscape. We will be asking the following questions:

  • In what ways do you see digital finance and emerging technologies influencing sustainable development?
  • What challenges and opportunities does the evolving nature of the digital economy present for regulatory frameworks?
  • How can regulators encourage digital innovation while maintaining the necessary oversight to prevent security risks and foster a stable financial environment?
Panel 2 – Navigating the Ethical Landscape of the Digital Economy

This panel brings together experts who will share their vision for how we can foster a responsible and trustworthy digital economy that benefits all. Challenges and opportunities to be addressed include the impact of digital finance on inclusion and accessibility. We will be asking the following questions:

  • What are the ethical considerations associated with digital finance, and how can we proactively address them?
  • How can we ensure that advancements in digital finance benefit all and do not perpetuate existing inequalities?
  • What do you see as the most important considerations when creating policies and regulations to promote a responsible digital economy?

The conference will close with a cocktail reception in a showcase area, where the hackathon solutions will be on display.

Reserved for those who register for the in-person conference.

With a combination of a hackathon, presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, this conference aims to inspire attendees to act and address the opportunities and challenges in the digital economy – so that we may collectively achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

Mr. Michael Adalla
Email: michael.adalla@unitar.org
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
7 bis, Avenue de la Paix
CH-1202 Geneva 2


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained over 395,000 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. In addition to our headquarters in Geneva, we have offices in Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.

The Division for Prosperity is based in the Hiroshima Office and Geneva. We seek to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world through world-class learning and knowledge-sharing services on entrepreneurship, leadership, finance and trade, digital technologies, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We empower individuals from least-developed countries, countries emerging from conflict, and small-island developing states – especially women and young people – to bring about positive change.

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