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ADB President discusses digital technology in Singapore

An announcement
from the Asian
Development Bank
(ADB) highlighted the recent 2-day visit of Mr
Takehiko Nakao, ADB President, to Singapore where he met up with Singapore
officials and business leaders to discuss digital technology in development.

Maximising digital technologies; as a way
to improve public service delivery, promote inclusive economic growth, and make
business practices more effective and efficient, was the main topic during a recent
trip to Singapore.

On a 2-day visit, ADB President Mr Takehiko
Nakao met with Singapore Minister for Communications and Information
Mr S. Iswaran, Monetary
Authority of Singapore
(MAS) Managing Director Mr Ravi Menon, and
senior business leaders.

“Singapore has been a leader in promoting
technological innovation and adaptation in Asia and the Pacific,” said Mr

He added, “ADB and its developing member
countries can draw many lessons from Singapore’s example.”

While there, Mr Nakao and Mr Iswaran
discussed how the Singapore government partners with the private sector to
foster a digital economy and digitally-ready society.

In his meeting at the MAS, Mr Nakao and Mr
Menon discussed how the central bank is using digital technologies to upgrade
staff skills and provide better services in terms of supervision, settlement
systems, and statistics.

Topics on the impact of new technologies on
financial inclusion; the landscape of financial industries; regulations such as
privacy, cybersecurity, fraud, and anti-money laundering; monetary policy, and
financial stability were also discussed. 

Matters concerning the best practises in
enterprise digital transformation and use of IT technologies were discussed by Mr Nakao with private sector leaders.

ADB, through its Office of Information
Systems and Technology, is improving its business processes through a
large-scale upgrading of internal technologies to respond more effectively and
efficiently to its clients.

ADB is also promoting digital technology in
its projects and programs in such areas as financial inclusion, health
services, education, and climate resilient agriculture. In March 2018, ADB
established a new Digital Technology for Development Unit within the
Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department.

At the Governor’s Seminar during ADB’s 51st
Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines, Mr Nakao said, “Countries that maintain
flexible policies, support improvements to education, and put in place a
stronger social safety net will be well positioned to take advantage of change
that new technologies will bring to the region.”

ADB’s Asian
Development Outlook 2018
presented that despite concerns with new technologies
and automation leading to widespread job losses, there are four reasons for
optimism about developing Asia’s job prospects.

First, new technologies often automate some
tasks of a job, not the whole job.

Second, automation takes place only where
it is both technically and economically feasible, and it has so far been
concentrated in the region’s capital-intensive manufacturing with relatively
low employment levels.

Third, jobs created by rising domestic
demand more than compensate for job losses due to technological advances. This
job creation will likely continue as a growing middle class consumes more and
better goods and services.

Fourth, technological advances and rising
incomes will lead to new occupations and industries, further offsetting labour
displacement due to automation.  

ADB, based in Manila, Philippines, is
dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive
economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
It assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance,
grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

Established in 1966, it is owned by 67
members, 48 of which is from the Asia and the Pacific region. In 2017, ADB
operations totalled US$32.2 billion, including US$11.9 billion in co-financing.

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