The financial sector has seen a massive digital transformation in its services and processes. In fact, e-commerce and digital banks are by-products of this movement.
Technology and innovation efforts are changing the world as we know it. What was once relevant has become obsolete.
Banks, with their many legacy systems, now need to adopt new practices to keep up with ongoing transformations. So how are they adapting?
OpenGov had the opportunity to speak with Guilhem Vincens, Head of Change Management & Innovation at ABN AMRO, a leading Dutch financial institution with a long and rich history in banking, to understand how his organisation is staying relevant and of the efforts under their wing.
Guilhem is a seasoned executive with 7 years in fintech and a further decade in banking.
A passionate digital evangelist, his role within the bank is to challenge the status quo, foster innovation, execute digital strategy and develop partnerships with the fintech ecosystem.
He genuinely believes innovation can make life better for everyone.
He has extensive knowledge in lean transformation, core banking, and product & process digitalisation.
He started his career in Europe focused on project management. More recently, he relocated to Singapore in 2015 now focused on change management and innovation.
Three Notable Trends in Banking
The financial services sector is continuously innovating and taking on the latest technologies, as it responds to client expectations and advances from existing and new competitors. Banks are moving beyond proof-of-concept projects to scaling fully digital native initiatives for production and launch.
For an international bank like ABN AMRO with a longstanding Corporate & Institutional Banking business in Asia Pacific, their initial emphasis was on digitising core business processes and adapting organisational structures, to ensure the organisation remains agile enough and prepared for the future of banking.
In keeping with the digital developments in banking, ABN AMRO is pursuing innovation on multiple fronts and a large portion of the work is now on ensuring these initiatives can be scaled up and provide the full benefits to clients by interlinking directly into their value chains. Not surprisingly, they are working on several blockchain initiatives aimed at significantly improving efficiency, security, and faster turnaround time in trade finance.
Particularly for ABN AMRO with their focus in sustainability, the combination of the latest digital technologies is providing a new way to pursue innovation and change that some have termed ‘tech for good’. Since many companies are increasingly asking for sustainable finance to be part of the financing mix, the bank is eager to demonstrate its green leadership.
“Our purpose, after all, is ‘Banking for better, for generations to come.‘”
This is done by developing innovative structuring as part of their loan covenants. For instance, they tailor-made a loan structure for a commodities client with interest margins tied to their emission targets of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and dust particulate, which incentivises the client to continuously improve their environmental standards.
Guilhem shared that as ABN AMRO is one of the frontrunners, they are also continually assessing the latest technologies and innovations, particularly in data monitoring systems, that could be used to reduce their environmental impacts.
Feasibility studies are also being done to understand how real-time satellite imaging can be used to prevent deforestation and improper or unsafe mining practices.
The Role of Cybersecurity in a Digital Bank
With banks being fully digital and dependent on technology, a whole new set of challenges growing from increased cyberattacks are seen. The banking industry is a trust-based business and safeguarding customers’ trust is therefore paramount.
Accordingly, banks are continuously investing in people and security solutions to keep a few steps ahead of cybercriminals.
Improving Customers’ Overall Experience with Technology and Innovation
Guilhem stressed that innovation has to be a top priority to be able to compete and grow even when margins are slim in the face of intense competition, changing regulations and transformational technology.
ABN AMRO’s digital transformation is creating the impetus for them to re-examine all processes and requirements from the ground-up. Their goals are to improve their operating efficiency, drive further transparency and speed, simplify the client experience, and reduce risk.
One of the ways in which this is tangible is their work in enabling paperless trade processing. This will have a wide impact across ship lending and trade commodity finance or OTD (Origination to Distribution).
Another example is identifying the right channels to augment customer experience, streamline processes, and increase cross-selling opportunities.
Now that client data is abundant, easily accessible and financially viable to deploy, ABN AMRO is looking to go beyond just knowing their customers – they want to anticipate their needs and proactively provide advisory.
Know-Your-Customer (KYC) – Predicting customer behaviour
“It is a long journey to become a data-driven organisation.”
In his organisation, teams regularly assess what data is needed and how business intelligence can be seamlessly fit into the business culture.
Technology cannot be fully optimised without better data management, data governance, quality data and insights, and making a cultural shift in how work is done.
ABN AMRO continuously looks into enhancing its KYC/AML capabilities. Lately, it has implemented a solution that delivers even better compliance protection. It combines deep datasets, risk analytics, human expertise, and AI technology.
With this solution, they are able to stay ahead of accelerated sanction regulations to determine a more precise level of risk for politically exposed persons. They can also quickly uncover hidden risks from adverse media.
It is unmistakable that the significant reduction of false positives is only feasible through technology which is mainly originated from fintech. As part of the recent Singapore Fintech Festival week, ABN AMRO brought together Dutch and Singapore participants to investigate Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) under the motto of ‘Blockchain for good’. In the realm of detecting financial crime, banks are not competitors and there are real synergies in being partners to develop KYC and transaction monitoring as a shared utility.
Banks have always been keen to embrace new technologies and succeed within the stringent rules of the banking risk and regulatory framework.
They have to contend with extremely high volumes, zero tolerance for errors and instantaneous processing requirements, while also managing their client’s expectations with digital needs.
Treat or Threat? Will the Rise of Fintech Affect Banking?
It is undeniable that fintech start-ups and even big tech companies are eyeing for a slice of the banking pie. Banks are not standing still and are continuously modernising their processes and systems, independent of this new competition arising from the tech sector.
Guilhem believes that there is no fintech today that can replace corporate banks, nor significantly disrupt them.
He validated his position with the following observations:
- Banks are regulated – outsiders tend to underestimate this entry barrier
- Corporate Banking excels as a relationship-based service rather than a commoditised product set
- Banks possess the inherent complexity and expertise in offering corporate banking products as compared to retail banking
These reasons, according to Guilhem, also explain why the digitisation of corporate banking moves at a slower pace.
Guilhem does acknowledged that there are a number of fintech businesses bringing value to banks. In Singapore, fintech players such as DLTLedgers and PERLIN are trying to address the industry’s pain points through blockchain technology.
This trend is unambiguously moving towards a new paradigm in standardisation not just at a national level, but internationally as well.
He added that business-friendly organisations such as Enterprise Singapore and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are not only supportive but are proactively involved in digitisation initiatives.
Likewise, it is essential for ABN AMRO to be engaged in relevant ecosystems and partner with fintech start-ups that are dynamic, agile and offer value propositions that are complementary to their business model.
The Power of Mindset
Innovation is transforming people. Innovation is a necessity. This is the mindset that should be adopted.
“I will never stop repeating this mantra: mindset is central for change and innovation,” enforced Guilhem.
Quoting Jerome Thil, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Singapore Airlines who asked him, “When is the last time you transformed yourself for good?”, which sparked a thought within him.
Guilhem firmly believes that transformation occurs through experience which all staff of ABN AMRO are a part of. They are empowered to co-challenge the status quo and experiment.
Making a Successful Digital Ecosystem
This starts with a bottom-up approach. Listening to the ground staff is essential, as they have the insights.
The right culture is important for sparking creative ideas. “People innovate, not companies,” said Guilhem.
ABN AMRO has moved towards a culture where help is readily given when asked. A successful digital ecosystem is about a network that connects the dots to match the right experts. Most companies lack an innovation ecosystem – not referring to a fancy innovation lab – but a clear repeatable process for turning new ideas into profitable business models.
ABN AMRO has had a more direct and smooth process in this journey. Guilhem pointed out that their open and direct Dutch culture helps to eliminate doubts surrounding individual and team motives. This allows for a whole-of-organisation approach for inculcating an open and innovative mindset.
They, therefore, continuously highlight the viewpoints of various stakeholders and encourage mutually beneficial engagement, allowing for a healthy ecosystem.
ABN AMRO’s Future
Change is the only constant. This is the mindset ABN AMRO embraces.
Being one of the world’s oldest banks that is still in continuous operation, they possess a rich banking legacy in Asia Pacific dating almost 200 years. For them, they recognise that change must be embodied for progress.
“If we have survived and thrived for over two centuries, then this digital transition is one we are definitely ready for,” he concluded.
The management of critical events is becoming an increasingly important and widespread practice. From significant weather events, natural disasters and global pandemics, critical events create operational disruptions and have an enormous financial impact.
The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the aptest example of this. Some nations have buckled under the pressure generated by the economic upheaval and setbacks the virus has caused. Other nations, like Malaysia, have risen to the challenge and have employed technology in innovative and efficient ways.
For example, in March 2020, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) rolled out a digital tracking device to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state. The digital surveillance solution gave the state disaster management committee the “scalable capability” to monitor the disease at all points of entry in Sarawak.
Under the solution, all those entering Sarawak were issued a QR-coded wristband based on two categories: person under investigation (PUI) and 14-day stay home notice. Wearers were required to report their situation twice daily by scanning their wristband’s QR code to submit the information.
Data collated will allow the state disaster management committee to make informed decisions and to conduct random checks on the wearers. The wearers’ location enables the committee to establish hotspots, a key strategy to curb further spread of the disease, the SMA General Manager had said in a statement.
At the time, various tracker systems had been deployed in China, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong where the data collected was crucial in managing the shape and evolution of the virus’ spread.
The state disaster management committee had earlier enlisted SMA to develop a digital system to track persons undergoing self-quarantine for Covid-19. Ultimately, this solution will be integrated into the ‘Permission to Enter/Exit’ system to effectively monitor Sarawak’s entry points.
This move resulted in the state, and Malaysia, being lauded for its efforts in combating the virus. On 22 September 2020, the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) utilization of technology to curb the Covid-19 pandemic was recognised as the committee was awarded the Malaysian Technology Excellence Award (MTEA) by Singapore Business Review 2020 in Kuala Lumpur.
SDMC’s initiative for the development of two key applications, namely i-Alerts and enterSarawak, and the seamless integration of both systems was acknowledged by the judging committee from Deloitte Asia Pacific, KPMG Malaysia, BDO, Crowe Growth Consulting as well as Ernst & Young Advisory Services as riding the disruption wave and leading the technological revolution by leveraging on technology as a key catalyst to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak.
The award was received by the General Manager of the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) on behalf of the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee. He stated that the agency aims to be the leader in the Digitalisation of Malaysia; being at the forefront, realising The Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak’s vision of a robust Digital Economy.
As strategised by SMA, the applications, which focus on data interoperability, allows for the harmonised approach of collecting and transmitting data between stakeholders, decision-makers and the public. This empowered the State to channel all relevant information via a single and globally interoperable information structure thus avoiding the unnecessary complexity in systems and improve overall efficiency.
The uniformity of these platform creates speed, systemization and standardization which improves overall efficiency across the entire disaster lifecycle thus allowing enterSarawak to be seamlessly applied across 33 Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security centres (ICQS) in Sarawak immediately during MCO creating touchless border security while i- Alerts acts as the Core Integrated Disaster Management Platform for SDMC.
The open standards for the system also ensure enhanced scaling and improved efficiency of the timeliness of the transfer of information. Furthermore, by making full use of existing data in the disaster management sector, i-Alerts can adopt mechanisms that ensure resource verification, findability, accessibility, interoperability, reuse and leverage the growth of existing Government Open Data initiatives.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) will organise a mega virtual summit on artificial intelligence (AI), Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020.
RAISE 2020 will be held from 5-9 October. It will be a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion, and empowerment in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education, and smart mobility, among other sectors.
The summit is a first of its kind, a global meeting of minds on AI to drive India’s vision for digital transformation. The event will witness robust participation from global industry leaders, key opinion makers, government representatives, and academia.
According to a press release, at the summit, delegates and experts in research, policy, and innovation on AI will come together from across the world. Keynote speeches and panel discussions will frame the summit, on cross-sector subjects like leveraging AI for pandemic preparedness, the impetus that innovation places on digitisation, inclusive AI, and partnerships for successful innovation.
The RAISE 2020 Summit will also feature startups working in AI-related fields. Startups chosen through the AI Solution Challenge will showcase their solutions in the AI Startup Pitchfest. This is part of the government’s continuing support to tech entrepreneurs and startups by providing exposure, recognition, and guidance.
Speaking about the Summit, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, the MeitY Secretary, noted that AI has emerged as a catalyst across industries and can play a transformative role in accelerating development. The summit will explore in-depth, the role of AI in accelerating social empowerment. RAISE 2020 has tracks like AI for health, agriculture, education, skilling, mobility, fintech, research, inclusive AI, the future of work, and responsible AI. The summit will serve as a platform for the meeting of some of the best minds in the world on AI.
Home to the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, elite science and technology institutions like the IITs, robust and ubiquitous digital infrastructure, and millions of newly-minted STEM graduates every year, India is well-positioned to become a global leader in the development of AI, the release claimed.
Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to US$ 957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country’s ‘AI for All’ strategy. The country aims to stand out in the international community not just as a leader in AI but also as a model to show the world how to responsibly direct AI for social empowerment.
Amitabh Kant, the CEO of NITI Aayog, explained that from agriculture to fintech and healthcare to infrastructure, AI is a transformative force. India is uniquely positioned to become the AI laboratory of the world and contribute to inclusive development and growth through empowerment. The summit aims to help create a data-rich environment, which is a stepping stone to eventually transform lives globally.
In August, NITI Aayog, in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), launched the ATL AI Step-Up Module for students, which will drive AI education and innovation across the country. The initiative was launched after the AI project, ATL AI Modules by the Atal Innovation Mission.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the AI Step-up Module provides a comprehensive set of learn-it-yourself advanced modules to those who want to expand their knowledge base after becoming familiar with the basics of the AI technology.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is collaborating with a communications service provider in Malaysia to promote corporate innovation among businesses in Malaysia, from start-ups or large corporations, to stimulate the ecosystem and spur the country’s digital economy.
The partnership was formalised with both parties signing a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the framework for its cooperation. Through the year-long collaboration, the parties will jointly develop mentorships and programmes to provide coaching to start-ups and corporates embarking on their digital transformation journeys.
Additionally, both parties will facilitate events and engagements that will foster a conducive environment for networking and collaboration between start-ups as well as larger corporations to generate business leads for the industry and accelerate corporate innovation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the leading converged solutions provider in Malaysia stated that, in this challenging and increasingly competitive business environment, the company firmly believes that innovation will be a key success factor in re-evaluating business models and digital transformation strategies.
Their collaboration with MDEC is, therefore, an important one as it allows the firm to collectively provide the right tools, support, and resources, to bring together the best of technologies to help businesses to always be ahead in a changing world. The parties will further explore and co-create initiatives to fuel corporate innovation in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, MDEC’s CEO lauded the firm’s proactive stance in supporting organisations to take the digital leap and heighten their readiness for IR4.0. She further encouraged Malaysia-based MNCs to join the effort to build the nation’s digital ecosystem and support local digitally-empowered businesses to grow globally.
The company possess market knowledge, resources, established networks, and the validation that all businesses aspire to attain; tech start-ups possess the agility and novel ideas that corporations value, she said. MDEC aims to harness these complementary strengths to both advance the nation’s digital agenda and foster the creation of local deep-tech solutions that could shape the way the most pressing global issues are solved.
As the first of their joint initiatives, the two parties will be launching a digital Design Thinking workshop for MDEC’s corporate partners in October 2020. The two-week workshop aims to promote the use of Design Thinking as a methodology to deeply understand problem statements of companies and challenge assumptions in an attempt to solve them creatively and innovatively.
According to another article, MDEC and Malaysia’s leading communications provider have a new history of innovative partnerships. The two have been collaborating on several fronts since 2019, with a shared goal of accelerating the digitalisation of the businesses in Malaysia in line with the Government’s digital economy agenda.
Some of the telecom’s key initiatives include the ecosystem development of IoT in May 2019, which saw the launching of the firm’s immensely popular IoT Challenge and the launch of its second installation on 4 September.
MDEC was also a key partner for the firm’s Market Access Day, the largest pitching session that provided a platform for 100 start-ups to showcase their ideas to approximately 70 of Malaysia’s leading corporates, venture capitalists and angel investors, for business matching and networking opportunities.
Recently, the firm was identified as a Technology Solutions Provider by MDEC for the SME Digitalisation Grant under Budget 2020, which enabled Maxis to offer the widest range of connectivity and digital solutions to help SMEs achieve their digitalisation aspirations.
Meanwhile, through its flagship community programme, eKelas, the company is currently working with MDEC to repurpose the latter’s STEM content and develop learning videos for eKelas students. Concurrently, it is supporting MDEC’s various initiatives under its #mydigitalmaker movement via content sharing and capacity building in Computer Science.
While glass is a sound-proof material, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have discovered a way which allows sound transmission for glass, opening a new horizon for the potential development of smartphones and other electronic devices that can function underwater, while also offering greater flexibility to building design.
Using the theory of local resonance, a research team led by Prof. WEN Weijia from the Department of Physics has found that by crafting a structured pattern of openings in between glass panes, the sound waves’ mode of vibration will be altered, allowing sound to pass through.
The concept is similar to playing the flute, where players can change the tone by adjusting the position of holes on the instrument. The glass with inlaid cavities can also transmit different sound frequency through the adjustment of those cavities’ shape and size.
The finding, made in collaboration with researchers from Chongqing University and Shenzhen Fantwave Tech. Co was recently published in top physics journal Applied Physics Letters.
Prof. Wen stated that the discovery overturns the concept regarding the use of glass in acoustics and provides a theoretical basis for new applications. If holes or openings in glasses are no longer required for sound transmission, manufacturers can design more long-lasting water-proof mobiles or electronic devices.
Interior settings which require both transparency and sound transmissions – such as those of the bank teller counters or prison reception cells, may also find our technology useful.
As a renowned scientist in advanced functional materials, Prof. Wen’s discoveries span across microsphere and nanoparticle design and fabrications, soft matter physics, smart materials, metamaterials, electronic materials and microfluidics, many of which were eventually transferred into commercial products.
A thermal sensitive nano gel which he discovered in 2009 for example, has recently been applied in the production of a smart glass which transparency changes automatically according to the ambient temperature and solar radiation intensity. This automatic atomizing glass can block up to 70 per cent of the sunlight, effectively reducing the indoor temperature by 5 to 8 degrees and minimizing energy consumption by air conditioning.
Sunlight-blocking glass has been a product made of well-known technology, but for installation on a building, they all require power in changing opacity. The material developed by Prof Wen was the first one that allows the glass to serve such purpose without needing external power.
The smart glass is now deployed in at least 8 mainland cities and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangdong on facilities ranging from schools and hospitals to residences and exhibition halls.
In the paper’s abstract, it is not that the team is introducing a kind of acoustic metamaterial, which can greatly enhance the transmission at subwavelength ranges and keep its hyaline and air-proof characteristics simultaneously.
In contrast to the state of the art, this originally conceived passive metamaterial makes full use of the resonance of glass plates without any complex or expensive materials. The team’s work provides the design of the decorated window, numerical simulation, and experimental demonstrations for this kind of metamaterial and analyses the underlying physical mechanism.
Furthermore, they show that more transmission peaks can be realized by introducing multilayer resonance coupling of this decorated window. This meta-window should have many potential applications where both the sound and visible light transmission are required without any ventilation.
Businesses, farmers and researchers in the Shoalhaven region will benefit from cutting-edge technology and research with the launch of a new industry hub in Nowra on 24 September 2020.
The Morrison Government has provided $2 million to establish the Nowra Agri-business Innovation Hub at the University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven campus to connect the regional agri-business sector with the latest technologies and research.
The Senator for New South Wales stated that the launch of the hub would kick-start a new chapter of innovation and growth in the region.
The hub will ensure that local students, businesses and entrepreneurs can access the expertise, equipment and innovation that will help them succeed, she said. The Shoalhaven region has a strong history in agribusiness, manufacturing and defence industries, as well as a skilled labour force.
The research conducted in the university’s facilities will provide advice and technical assistance for those businesses to explore new technologies and drive growth.
The Minister for Education stated that the Government was committed to enhancing collaboration between universities, industry, businesses, government and the wider community.
The research done by Australia’s universities can lead to the development of new products and innovations that drive job growth, business opportunities and productivity gains, he said. As part of its Job-ready Graduates reforms, the Government is providing $900 million to establish the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund to fund partnerships between universities and industry.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong stated that the hub will provide the community with access to tools and support to create a thriving economic future. The University has always served its communities and this was recently demonstrated in the assistance it provided to students and businesses across the South Coast and Southern Highlands throughout Australia’s bushfire crisis and the pandemic, he remarked.
The university is determined to continue to value-add to local communities economically, environmentally, socially and culturally by investing in research and innovation.
“So, it is fitting to be partnering with the Australian Government to officially open this Industry 4.0 Hub at a time when Australia’s economic recovery is based on our success at growing new businesses, creating jobs, and supporting existing businesses,” he concluded.
The hub is expected to provide further details on research engagement and translation in the first half of 2021.
Applying digital transformation to the agriculture sector is paramount. Invest NSW notes that agricultural technology (Agtech), is predicted to become Australia’s next $100 billion industry by 2030. The sector is fast becoming a vital part of the NSW economy and a growing source of both income and investment.
Thriving agtech clusters, world-class life sciences institutions and high-quality produce, make NSW the ideal environment for agribusiness innovation.
A rising middle class, especially in the Asia Pacific, is moving from a simple diet to one that’s much higher in the kind of agriculturally-intensive foods in which Australia and NSW specialise. At the same time, demand for locally-grown sustainable food is growing in the domestic market.
Global warming and diminishing natural resources present obstacles to meeting this changing demand. So too does the rising cost of energy, labour, fertiliser, seeds and herbicides. These challenges have created a perfect environment for Agtech to grow.
NSW is at the forefront of using technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) to increase agricultural productivity. However, agtech isn’t just changing the face of farming; it’s helping save farming land. Technological advances ensure we can produce, supply and store food sustainably.
The Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City Business Association recently unveiled a digital transformation program for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help improve their competitiveness.
The program will be implemented in collaboration with the HCM City Computer Association and its members as a part of the city government’s efforts to help SMEs gain better access to digital transformation solutions at reasonable costs. Under the scheme, a committee for digital transformation under the management of the HCM City Business Association and a digital transformation training centre for enterprises will be established.
According to a press release, a portal will be built to support the digital transformation efforts, and a digital transformation solution package called Service Catalog will be established to support businesses. The business association also introduced two basic digital transformation packages, the X-Starter (for start-ups) and X-SME (for SMEs), to be provided by reputed members of the computer association.
Speaking at a press conference held to announce the program, Chu Tien Dung, the chairman of the HCM City Union of Business Associations, stressed the importance of good infrastructure and a legal framework for digital transformation.
Enterprises have recognised the importance of technologies in their operations and management. Digital transformation will be the element to help them improve their competitive capacity and develop sustainably. “The association is willing to support and assist enterprises in undertaking digital transformation if they face any hurdles in implementation.
The chairman of the computer association, Lam Nguyen Hai Long, noted his association is working with other business groups in the city to publish a catalogue of IT products for enterprises’ digital transformation efforts. He recommended that the city should provide free IT infrastructure for SMEs, and IT enterprises should offer digital transformation services at reduced prices.
The city should choose local enterprises to provide technologies for the program because similar projects are already being carried out by IT enterprises in other provinces and cities, he added.
HCM City aims to become a smart city with e-government, e-enterprises, and an electronic society by 2030, and set up a database by that year to assist with this. By 2030 it also aims to push all public services online and provide them on multiple platforms, including mobile devices. The e-economy is expected to account for 40% of the city’s economy.
The rate of individuals and enterprises having electronic accounts for payments will exceed 85%. To obtain these goals, the city will strengthen communications and improve the awareness of its workers, the public and enterprises, and create shared databases.
Experts said the digital transformation would affect all areas of the economy like health, education, transport, finance-banking, tourism, agriculture, logistics, environment, and energy.
Earlier, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) launched a campaign to review and remove malware nationwide this year. It aims to enhance the country’s network security, as OpenGov Asia reported.
The campaign intends to reduce the malicious code infection rate by 50%. It also aims to cut the number of Vietnamese IP addresses in ten popular botnets – a collection of internet-connected devices infected by malware that allow hackers to control them – in half.
The National Digital Transformation Program notes that ensuring network safety and security is key to digital transformation. All IT equipment, products, software, information systems, and investment projects have mandatory components on network safety and security. The ministry has clarified cyber safety and security as a prerequisite for e-government development and digital transformation.
At the high-level meeting held at the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi said, “Everyone has the right to get a fair and equal opportunity to win the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Indonesian Foreign Minister was representing the President of the Republic of Indonesia and echoed the sentiments of his speech at the 75th UN High School General Debate Session, that “no one is truly safe until everyone is safe”.
Entitled “The Challenge of a Lifetime: Ensuring Universal Access to Covid-19 Health Technologies”, the gathering was convened by the Government of Costa Rica. Indonesia appreciated Costa Rica’s Solidarity Call to Action initiative, which seeks to unify the science, intellectual property and data needed to fight COVID-19, as well as the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool under the framework of the WHO World Health Organization.
The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) will compile, in one place, pledges of commitment made under the Solidarity Call to Action to voluntarily share COVID-19 health technology-related knowledge, intellectual property and data.
The Pool will draw on relevant data from existing mechanisms, such as the Medicines Patent Pool and the UN Technology Bank-hosted Technology Access Partnership. Shared knowledge, intellectual property and data will leverage our collective efforts to advance science, technology development and broad sharing of the benefits of scientific advancement and its applications based on the right to health.
In her speech, the Indonesian Foreign Minister emphasised the need to bridge the gap between countries ad level the access field. With significant limitations that developing countries face in accessing medicines, vaccines and health technology, it is the need of the hour for all countries to work collaboratively. Three things would ensure that global access becomes a reality:
- Maintain solidarity and political commitment from all countries for handling the pandemic.
- Establish partnerships with all stakeholders, including the government, researchers, and the medical industry.
- Provide global governance to ensure that health technology is available and accessible to everyone”.
She was confident with the three basic pillars in place everyone would be able to enjoy the same benefits from advances in science and health technology for handling COVID-19. These three conditions would be key to the production of affordable vaccines and medicines.
A genuine partnership between the public sector, research and corporates will enable sound policy-making as well as accelerate the production and distribution of medicines, vaccines, equipment and technology. While these partnerships must exist at a national level, an international network of pharmaceutical companies and the health industry is critical. All such efforts and partnerships will be effective if flexibility is available in international regulations and intellectual property rights.
The Indonesian Foreign Minister also expressed Indonesia’s support for the COVAX global initiative which strives to provide vaccines for all countries in the world, as well as conveying Indonesia’s readiness, through the Biofarma company, to participate in producing vaccines for national and global needs, if the due diligence has been carried out successfully.
Indonesia is planning to aggressively tackle the pandemic in the country and is also looking to recover in the post-COVID era. The Ministry of Health will receive Rp 84.3 trillion (US$ 5.7 billion) of state budget allocation in 2021 according to Joint Letter of Ministry of Finance and Minister of National Development Planning (Bappenas).
The Ministry of Health will also receive an allocation of the economic recovery of Rp 25.4 trillion (US$ 1.7 billion) that will be used for COVID-19 vaccine procurement, immunisation, facility and infrastructure of health research and development and budget allocation for Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan).
The Minister of Health confirmed that the budget allocation would be spent on six health priority issues in 2021 (called the National Program). The national program comprises of the national health insurance (JKN), maternal and child mortality reduction, stunting prevention, communicable and non-communicable disease control and health security strengthening for the pandemic response, improvement in the public movement for a healthy life (GERMAS), and national health system strengthening.
The Ministry of Health is determined to conduct programs and priorities to support the President’s vision and mission, particularly in TBC and COVID-19 control and health security strengthening.