ASEAN Leaders: Youth and Technology Driving ASEAN’s Future Competitiveness

ASEAN’s future competitiveness will be driven by rapid technological development and youthful demographics, highlighted the leaders of four members of ASEAN � Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam � in the opening session of the 26th World Economic Forum on ASEAN yesterday.

Fifty years since its founding and despite the more volatile global environment, ASEAN has managed to maintain stable and strong peace and security with good cooperation among its members, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, told participants.

ASEAN must have an integrated agenda aligning its strengths to seize opportunities and address unexpected problems, promoting education and skills development and addressing issues such as inequality and cyber security, he added.

We should invest in human capital, said H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, which is the current chair of ASEAN. The Philippines, along with other South-East Asian countries, is in a demographic sweet spot. The youth is a key sector in which we must invest.

H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Lao People’s Democratic Republic said we need quality education aimed at developing labour skills to increase effectiveness and efficiency. Private enterprise will play a critical role if ASEAN is to meet the challenges ahead, he noted. I call on the private sector to continue improving and adapting themselves to increase competitiveness in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

For his part, H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, agreed. To maintain dynamic growth, we cannot rely on natural resources and unskilled labour, but have to strive towards sustainable development and better quality growth so we can move up the value chain.

Currently, more than half of ASEAN’s population is under the age of 30, therefore ASEAN region is full of bubbling potential. Not only does the region abound with youth, but it is also rapidly connecting to the digital economy. The ten countries of ASEAN together represent the fastest-growing internet population in the world. The number of people with internet access is growing by 124,000 every day, and will continue to grow at this pace for the next five years

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press