WEF on ASEAN starts with open forum

by 12 September 2018 Last updated at 22:59 PM

More than 1,000 participants joined the open forum: ‘ASEAN 4.0 for All?’, which officially kickstarted the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018, on Tuesday morning in Hà Nội.

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Panelists at the Open Forum ASEAN take a selfie on stage on September 11.

HÀ NỘI - More than 1,000 participants joined the open forum: ‘ASEAN 4.0 for All?’, which officially kickstarted the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2018, on Tuesday morning in Hà Nội.

Speaking at the forum, Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngọc Anh stressed the importance of the fourth industrial revolution for countries in the region, including Việt Nam.

The minister said: "The fourth industrial revolution presents both opportunities for growth and challenges, especially for the region’s young people.

"Việt Nam has high hopes for startups and business to be the driving force for economic growth and sustainable development."

The minister urged delegates to focus on ideas and initiatives which bolster co-operation between countries in the region as well as with international partners to transform Southeast Asia into one of the world’s start-up hubs.

The forum’s discussion panel, which saw the participation of noted figures in education, business and technology, talked about common objectives and challenges for ASEAN countries and how the region can forge ahead through the fourth industrial revolution.

Annie Koh, Vice President for the Office of Business Development and Academic Director of the Singapore Management University said young people across the 10 countries of ASEAN would be the ones who decide the future of the region.

"We need to unlock the enormous entrepreneurial skill within ASEAN," Koh said.

She said there was a need to promote an ASEAN identity, an ASEAN way and cross-cultural movement and exchange of students between countries.

Rajan Anandan, Google Managing Director of Southeast Asia and India said the region had enormous potential for digital growth, citing Việt Nam as one of the prime examples for ASEAN’s entrepreneurial spirit.

"When it comes to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, at the core of it is a digital economy and when you think about ASEAN with the 10 countries combined, the digital economy is quite sizable and it’s growing rapidly," he said.

Anandan said it was important for the region to establish an integrated digital economy in which the free flow of data, seamless payments, goods and services across countries are ensured.

"One of the ways to capitalise on the digital economy is skilling up SMEs," said Anandan, "for the vital role they play which accounts for 80 per cent of the region’s economy and 80 per cent of all jobs."

Answering a question from the audience on the topic of how young students could best prepare and adapt for employment opportunities in the future, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahma the Minister of Youth and Sports of Malaysia said "the coming tech era falls right in the younger generation’s expertise". He said young people must find their passions and not be shy of taking risks in their career development.

Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation said in the digital economy young people must have curiosity as to how technology is made instead of just being a consumer if they want to become the driving force behind technological innovation.

The theme for this year’s WEF is ‘ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

The WEF, established in 1971, is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967. It groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Việt Nam. – Khanh

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