Leaders consider ASEAN's future direction [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abzspVpP89s]
Last week, I represented Infosys at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur. The theme of the conference - Shaping the ASEAN Agenda for Inclusion and Growth - couldn't have been more relevant. Southeast Asia is experiencing great economic growth and urbanization, but that kind of social improvement doesn't include everyone. Granted, the ten-member states of ASEAN all share similar cultures and histories by virtue of geography. But that's where the similarities end. There is Singapore and Brunei on one hand, with their pristine streets, skyscrapers, and some of the wealthiest populations on the planet. Then there is Cambodia, with a largely rural and poor population.
This year's conference focused on public and private partnerships to address some of the areas that need immediate attention, such as education, infrastructure, transportation, and unemployment, to bring about parity between the developed and poorer countries in the region. And for such initiatives to succeed, digital - as the great enabler of our times - must connect 625 million people in the ASEAN region. It was heartening to witness unanimous faith of leaders from political, social and business communities in digital technologies in accelerating changes, improvements and benefits in the ASEAN region. The perfect confluence of needs, collective intent to address these and opportunities.