ASEAN member states must embrace digital connectivity: Singapore's minister
"In the next phase of economic development, ASEAN member states must embrace digital connectivity so that we can thrive in the future economy," said Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran on Monday.
S. Iswaran made such remarks in his keynote speech at the 9th ASEAN and Asia Forum (AAF), which themed on "A New Growth Paradigm: Connect, Innovate, Reform".
Organized by Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), the forum discussed key issues and future trends of ASEAN and Asia.
S. Iswaran's speech focused on seizing opportunities for growth in the region and the need for countries to rethink their strategies to stay ahead. He noted that economic integration is even more important in digital era.
S. Iswaran said if ASEAN governments support digital connectivity and ASEAN businesses keep pace with the shift towards digitization, the pay-offs will be significant.
By some estimates, the ASEAN digital economy has the potential to grow to 200 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, with e-Commerce accounting for 88 billion dollars.
"The digital economy offers a new degree of freedom and a new wave of opportunity for our businesses and our people," said S. Iswaran, "it can also be a modality for ASEAN's economic engagement with its partners through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other initiatives at a broader regional level and also at a sectoral and company level."
Indonesian coordinating minister for national development planning Bambang Brodjonegoro, who is the country's former minister of finance, also shed light on Indonesia's position as an emerging economy, including what investors can expect from the nation's restructuring at the forum on Monday.
SIIA also launched a special report titled "Jokowi's Indonesia: Shifting to Reform and New Growth", which highlights how and why Indonesia continues to be one of the top investment destinations in the region and what businesses can expect moving forward.