IfW in the News

Saving the World, One Proposal at a Time


Matthias Lücke and Dennis Görlich present policy advices of the T20 to the G20

Excerpt from the article

(…) Proposal on refugees: Mobilize the private sector to develop sustainable solutions and endorse the establishment of Made by Refugees Special Economic Zones - "MBR Zones." Promote refugee entrepreneurship with fast-track work visas and other special visa programs.

The MBR Zones would apply to countries where refugees have settled in clusters, such as in Turkey or Lebanon, explains Matthias Lücke, a senior researcher at the Kiel Institute , who focuses on migration and integration and who co-wrote the original proposal.

"Some business owners have also become refugees and they could, under certain conditions, go back into business again," Mr. Lücke explains. However, the individuals concerned would still need to pass certain tests and fulfill certain criteria, all of which would take time.

How realistic is it? Whether a special economic zone is useful or workable depends completely on the country, Mr. Lücke continues. And the devil, as they say, is in the details. Jordan, for example, already has something like this but it is proving challenging to make it work well. Jordan also already has a free trade agreement with the EU, which makes adding another level of special trade conditions on top of that tricky.


Proposal on digitalization: Require Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as TVs, refrigerators and others that are wirelessly networked, to be securely updated in a reasonable time frame. Legally require vendors and Internet service providers to offer life-long security updates.

The reason that recent so-called ransom-ware attacks, such as the infamous WannaCry virus, have been so successful, has a lot to do with IoT devices that do not run up-to-date software. But as more "things" in our homes and businesses become intelligent, this poses ever greater risks. A single machine running out-of-date software can put an entire network at risk.

How realistic? Average. "All I can say is that the business community reacted skeptically to this proposal," says Dennis Görlich, an economist at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy . Mr. Görlich is also the managing director of the Global Economic Symposium and one of the prime organizers of the T20. "I think our current task, before anything like this will be implemented, is to raise awareness among regulators about the threat that unpatchable and insecure IoT devices pose to the entire internet. The G20 is a good forum to make commitments in this regard as it includes countries that are the major producers of IoT devices."