ASEAN will fare well in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: PM Lee

Majority of its population are under 35 years old who are 'comfortable with new technology'.

Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are ‘in good position’ amidst the new opportunities arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his speech at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN held in Vietnam.

The Singapore PM noted that the region will be the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030, coming next to the US, China and the European Union. Aside from this, he noted that the region enjoys a “young and educated workforce” as 60% of its people are under 35 years old.

“They are comfortable with new technology and the digital economy in ASEAN is projected to grow to reach US$200b by 2025,” he explained.

Moreover, PM Lee also cited that the ASEAN is pushing to step up its economic integration.
“This is an important condition for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, because it is about building networks, creating new synergies and staying connected,” Lee said.

According to him, the ASEAN member states have been working together towards the ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025 which will let businesses in the region to operate more seamlessly across the ASEAN.

“It is important to involve the businesses because the private sector, especially the small and medium enterprises, is the backbone of our economies and source of entrepreneurship,” he noted.

Lee also said that the region is looking to strengthen the open and rules-based multilateral trading system with its partners.

“It is a system has underpinned our growth and stability, but is under pressure and even threat,” he said.

According to the Singapore PM, the ASEAN is pushing to make progress on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and is hoping to achieve a “substantial conclusion to the RCEP by the end of the year, although this is not yet assured”. 

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