U.S. Business Works to Build ASEAN's ICT Environment

(Manila, Philippines) The US-ASEAN Business Council, working together with the Philippines Department of Science and Technology-Information Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) and the Business Software Alliance, today concluded a two-day workshop designed to propose specific action plans to facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors on the successful completion of the ASEAN ICT Master Plan. ASEAN's ICT Master Plan creates key targets to utilize ICT to work towards the goal of an inclusive, vibrant, and integrated ASEAN. The discussions focused on how government and industry could cooperate in creating and implementing initiatives that would drive successful ICT investment and development.

The Keynote Remarks were given by Secretary of Science and Technology Mario Montejo, who acknowledged ICT's role in the development of the entire ASEAN Region,"There's still a lot of catching up to do in the region with regard to ICT development. Definitely, it offers plenty of room for cooperation between the private and public sectors to create the environment conducive for steady and inclusive ICT growth that will be the bedrock of vibrant ASEAN economies."

The event was attended by ASEAN senior officials from the ICT, Economic Planning, and Trade & Industry ministries as well as representatives from industry, think-tanks and academia.

"ASEAN's ability to leverage ICT for development will be a key part of its future economic success," said Anjan Ghosh, Asia-Pacific Director of Corporate Affairs at Intel and Chair of the Council's ICT Working Group. "ASEAN also has the potential to set itself apart from other players in the region if it creates the right environment, in terms of broadband internet access and a well-educated workforce, needed to spur ICT-led innovation and growth."

Infrastructure is a key theme in ASEAN, and increasingly that means infrastructure to support broadband access and digital innovation," said Alexander Feldman. "U.S. companies are looking for ways they can support ASEAN in creating an environment supportive of increased use of ICT for economic development and more inclusive growth as envisioned by the ASEAN ICT Master Plan."

The first day's discussion focused on utilizing ICT to encourage economic and community development, and creating the infrastructure necessary to support innovation. The second day focused on developing the human capital to create the capacity to continue to build the ICT environment in ASEAN, and finding ways to bridge the digital divide across ASEAN and ensure more people have access to modern technology.

Specific recommendations stemming from the Dialogue includes setting up an annual dialogue with the American ICT Community as well as establishing an ASEAN Internet Online Community, Digital Literacy for All initiative, and supporting the launch of the ASEAN ICT Innovation Awards.

Council members supporting the ASEAN ICT Dialogue included Intel, Google, Microsoft, and HP.

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For over 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.