February 21, 2024

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Indonesia: Digital Access Empowering Communities 

The Indonesian government fully supports the ASEAN Digital Work Plan, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in 2024, aligning with the ASEAN-ITU Priority Areas of Cooperation for 2024-2026. This decision underscored a commitment to advancing digital connectivity across the ASEAN region.

Image credits: kominfo.go.id

During the ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting with ITU, Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Mira Tayyiba, accompanied by the Director of ASEAN Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adhyanti Wirajuda, and the Head of International Cooperation Centre at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Ichwan Makmur Nasution.

Secretary General Mira emphasised that this collaboration will play an integral role in achieving comprehensive goals, specifically in making digital connectivity more equitable across ASEAN countries. “With ITU’s support, the benefits of internet connectivity are expected to be brought to all communities in the region,” she asserted.

Mira also highlighted ITU’s crucial role in extending the benefits of internet connectivity globally. About 517.2 million people in Southeast Asia, equivalent to 75.6% of the total population, are connected to the internet. Despite significant progress, challenges persist, as approximately 166.7 million people, or 24.4% of the population, still need to be connected.

Secretary General Mira asserted that efforts to connect the most remote areas and rural communities require strong dedication. Furthermore, Indonesia has collaborated with ITU in implementing initiatives such as Smart Villages and Smart Islands (SVSI).

“As a means to provide connectivity and digital services to communities that are unconnected and underserved,” she explained.

Addressing the issue of digital connectivity, Secretary General Mira considered its crucial role in transforming communities in rural and coastal areas. In her view, digital connectivity is the key to positive changes in the lives of these communities. Adequate connection with digital technology is believed to positively impact their livelihoods and well-being by accessing various digitally available services.

She emphasised that initiatives like SVSI are concrete steps supporting the goal of equitable distribution. Aligned with the Masterplan Digital ASEAN 2025, SVSI is a strategic step to address the digital divide and promote digital inclusion across the ASEAN region.

“By creating equal access to digital services in rural and coastal areas, communities in these regions are expected to experience positive benefits from digital transformation. The connection to various digital services, such as healthcare, education, and economic services, is seen as a path to improving the standard of living and the welfare of local communities,” she added.

In exploring the positive impact and strategic role of initiatives like SVSI, Secretary General Mira underscored the importance of utilising digital technology as a catalyst for advancing the holistic well-being of communities. This perspective reflects the government’s commitment to implementing concrete steps to ensure equal access to digital connectivity, primarily focusing on rural and coastal areas.

The digital divide can be addressed through initiatives like SVSI, which are integral to national efforts and in line with the vision of the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025. This initiative is considered a strategic tool that will support the government’s goal of improving the population’s overall well-being. Digital technology is seen as a means to open new opportunities and empower communities, especially in areas that may have been previously limited in access and utilisation of technology.

Secretary General Mira highlighted the importance of collaboration between the government and various stakeholders in supporting digital connectivity initiatives. Strengthening this cooperation is vital to ensuring these programmes’ sustainability and success.

“By involving various stakeholders, including the private sector, academia, and civil society, we can create an ecosystem that supports government initiatives in expanding the reach of digital technology across various layers of society,” explains Mira.

The focus on rural and coastal areas is an integral part of this strategy, considering that these two regions often require the most attention to equalise digital access. Through these initiatives, positive benefits will permeate various aspects of community life in these areas, creating equal opportunities and improving overall quality of life.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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