ASEAN Seeks to Develop ICT Infrastructure

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Nov. 26 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is strongly promoting information and communication technology (ICT) through the ASEAN ICT Master-plan.

During a recent meeting, Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, explained ASEAN’s plan for building ICT capabilities throughout the region.  He stated that “the most important step for us is to help build capacity and for the various states to decide which level of intervention in terms of ICT application they will be keen on.”

Global spending on the ICT sector is predicted to increase by 4 percent year-on-year to over US$4 trillion by 2015.

On the 14th and 15th of November, the ICT ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries met in Singapore for the 13th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN).  The meeting was attended by around 200 ministers, delegates and dialogue partners from ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea.

The six main elements of the ICT meeting were “economic transformation, people empowerment and engagement, innovation, infrastructure development, human capital development and bridging the digital divide.”

During the meeting, ASEAN and China signed an MoU that covered areas such as promoting infrastructure development, industry, human resources, new technologies, and information exchanges.

A key section of the TELMIN meeting was the Mid-Term Review of the ASEAN ICT Master-plan 2015 (AIM2015).  Minister Ibrahim noted that AIM2015 is already two-thirds complete and is well on track to meet its deadline. AIM2015 focuses on the six key areas of the ICT meeting.

Since 2011, when AIM2015 began, ASEAN TELMIN has completed over 60 projects in areas such as cyber security and e-governance.

The ASEAN ministers have recognized that cybercrime is a global problem which must involve a global solution.  As such, ASEAN has reached out to multiple dialogue partners including China and Japan.  An additional strategy has been the creation of the ASEAN Cyberkids Camp which seeks to teach children about cyber security and staying safe online.

An additional success of AIM2015 has been the implementation of the Universal Service Obligation Policy which assists in the provision of broadband internet to every school in the ASEAN community through the development of policy, strategic frameworks and a national statistics portal.

ASEAN is also looking to boost cooperation with dialogue partners, such as the Republic of Korea, in order to improve mobile applications for use in e-government, healthcare and transport.

All ASEAN members pledged to continue on with planning the next ASEAN ICT Master-plan for 2016-2020, which will be implemented during the next TELMIN held in Thailand in 2014.

During November, ASEAN also held its second annual ICT Awards Ceremony.  The purpose of this ceremony was to “encourage innovation and creativity in the region and provide the necessary platform to promote ASEAN ICT products and services globally.”

Eighteen finalists were picked from more than 80 contestants.

It seems clear that ASEAN’s ICT sector has a strong future ahead of it.

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