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Singapore Pushes for Digital Literacy and Development Reform

Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Singapore’s Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education recently attended the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting (DMM) and committed to doubling down on efforts to assist developing countries in accelerating progress, which was already off-track prior to the pandemic, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

In his remarks, Minister Maliki identified areas where the G20 could help developing countries achieve the SDGs, including the creation of a framework to provide capacity building to increase digital literacy, particularly among Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), as well as contributions to the effective reform of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

MSMEs frequently confront difficulties in embracing digital technology and reaping the benefits they provide. Their capacity to compete in the digital economy is hampered by this knowledge gap. Hence, MSMEs can develop the essential skills and knowledge to effectively employ digital tools and technology by establishing a framework for capacity building. It aids in bridging the digital divide, allowing smaller enterprises to engage and thrive in the digital age.

MSMEs may embrace modern technologies such as e-commerce, cloud computing, data analytics, and digital marketing with the help of digital literacy. MSMEs can improve their competitiveness, streamline their operations, enter new markets, and better understand client preferences by implementing these technologies. Also, the capacity-building framework assists MSMEs in developing the essential skills and knowledge to effectively embrace digital innovation.

Financial inclusion is closely related to digital literacy. By gaining comprehension of digital financial services, MSMEs can gain access to a greater variety of financial products, such as loans, insurance, and payment systems.

By making more people aware of how important digital literacy is and how it affects MSMEs, the framework can persuade these institutions to put digital capacity-building programmes at the top of their list and support initiatives that are linked to this.

The framework can provide training on financial technology (fintech) and digital payment platforms, enabling MSMEs to effectively navigate the digital financial ecosystem. This increased access to capital facilitates the development and resilience of businesses.

The framework can facilitate the sharing of knowledge and collaboration among MDBs, IFIs, and other stakeholders involved in digital literacy initiatives.

The framework can facilitate the sharing of best practices, lessons learned, and innovative approaches to digital capacity building by bringing together experts, practitioners, and policymakers. Utilising collective expertise and resources, this collaboration contributes to the successful reform of MDBs and IFIs.

The framework for capacity-building can advocate for the incorporation of digital components into existing programmes and initiatives backed by MDBs and IFIs. This integration ensures that digital literacy and skill development are incorporated into a variety of development initiatives, such as entrepreneurial support, vocational training, and economic empowerment programmes. It improves the efficiency and significance of these initiatives in the digital age.

Minister Maliki emphasised further that a multifaceted strategy and prompt global action are required to assist developing nations in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Additionally, during his meeting with the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister Maliki also delivered signed copies of the Framework Agreement on the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Singapore’s Instrument of Ratification. The addition of Singapore to the ISA will enhance solar energy cooperation with India and other ISA members.


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