Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen has announced he will be appointing an Ambassador to the global tech industry as part of the nation’s “techplomacy” initiative. He said;
“The Tech Ambassador will spearhead a new ‘TechPlomacy’ initiative, making tech and digitization a priority across the Foreign Service, including at our embassy network around the world.”
“Tech and digitization needs to be a foreign policy priority, as we cannot approach technology and digitization in a black box in Denmark. The technological development and tech actors of all sorts have a massive effect on our society. Affecting a broad range of topics from privacy, humanitarian aid, health care, job creation, infrastructure and security.”
“It is important to establish relations with tech actors such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Alibaba; startups in epicenters and powerhouses such as Silicon Valley, Shenzhen and elsewhere. The aim is to create dynamic feedback loops between tech actors abroad and the policy-making circles at home.
An important aspect of TechPlomacy will therefore be to use our embassies as satellite outposts on this agenda. On the one side, making sure we’re adequately tapped into the new technological developments, trends and dilemmas – and on the other side promoting Danish core interests and values in the relevant spheres of influence.”
“Some tech companies have market values outranking the GDP of most nations. And are obviously important actors in this domain. But just as in our bilateral discussions with foreign governments, there will be things we agree on and things we don’t. Both are good reasons for dialogue. However, our TechPlomacy initiative is not only aimed at tech companies, but all sorts of tech actors: universities, researchers, cities, start-ups, local authorities with relevant expertise or experience in how to approach different aspects of technology.”
While this forward thinking approach certainly seeks to enhance Denmark’s global ‘soft power’, it may also hint at a policy landgrab by Samuelsen’s minor Liberal Alliance Party within the coalition government.
As yet, the Danish Foreign Ministry cannot confirm the timescale for the appointment or whether the appointee will be a politician, career diplomat or whether an industry figure will be co-opted into the role.