Developing economies must guard against rise of monopolies, oligopolies: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019, the Queen added it was therefore important for regulators in developing countries to mitigate against excessive market concentration

Governments in developing economies should guard against the possibility of businesses growing into monopolies or oligopolies, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands said on Tuesday. 

"As new technologies appear, the likelihood of a winner-takes-all situation could be more pronounced in emerging economies, especially in the digital space," Queen Maxima said while speaking at the plenary session of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 here.  

"Because of the absence of infrastructure, a new innovative player can build an ecosystem to address the innovation challenges around their business models," she added. "This is, of course, needed to transform a market in the beginning but might lead to a monopolistic or oligopolistic market structure." 

The Queen went on to say that it was therefore important for regulators in developing countries to mitigate against excessive market concentration. 

"For all these things to work in an inclusive and fair way, we will need certain prerequisites," she said. "These key prerequisites include cyber security, digital ID systems, customer data protections, financial and digital literacy, data privacy and connectivity to all segments of the population." 

The Queen did add that regulation should not stifle innovation but at the same time should protect consumers and the stability of systems.  

Speaking the previous day, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also shared some advice for governments seeking to encourage entrepreneurship, as India is currently doing.  

"First, entrepreneurs need the right to private property – both physical property and intellectual property," Mr. Pompeo said. "Without this fundamental right – one that we take for granted too often, I think – without this fundamental right there’s no incentive to innovate, because there’s no reward for that innovation." 

"The second thing entrepreneurs need is the rule of law," he added. "It’s pretty basic – a legal system that is predictable, consistent, creates enforceable rights, and creates understandings among suppliers and customers and employees – all of those things that permit organisations to thrive and to prosper." 

The third element, Mr. Pompeo said, was for governments to "stop strangling business". This last point is especially pertinent to India as it tries to climb the ranks of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.  

(The correspondent was in the U.S. at the invitation of Foreign Press Center, U.S. Department of State)

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