A Recap of ABF's Retail Banking Forum: Overcoming Middle-Income Traps
Digital transformation as an opportunity
The topic being discussed most nowaday is “Opportunities and Challenges of Digital Transformation in Southeast Asia”. OECD-SEARP has been engaged in active discussions on policies to make digitalization work for better lives and inclusive growth. Japan has actively lead those discussions. OECD has been working on a horizontal project to assess the potential and impact of digitalization on various aspects of human lives. It is essential to recognize digital transformation as an opportunity, not as a problem.
Effective use of digitalization will enhance productivity growth and regional connectivity, thus helping ASEAN countries address such challenges as Middle-Income Traps. To this end, it is indespensable to develop and maintain ICT infrastructure, such as broadband networks; to promote a free flow of information and cyber security; to protect intellectual property rights; and to provide ICT education. In addition, through the digitalization of the financial infrastructure, digital financial services can become a killer application.
OECD and FSAs of the ASEAN countries have a role to play in establishing high level international standards in various areas including digitalization, thus contributing to economic growth and the expansion of trade around the globe. Moreover, if those standards are internalized by ASEAN countries and become the basis for regional integration and domestic reforms, it can have a great impact on regional economic governance. Such standards will help to avoid Middle-Income traps in the entire Southeast Asia.