Digitalisation efforts have taken on an important role and have gained increasing attention, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where digital transformation efforts have been intensified, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud.
“Our collective efforts need to be accelerated to ensure that Southeast Asian nations are not left behind,” he said while representing Brunei Darussalam in the Second Ministerial Conference of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Southeast Asia Regional Programme via video conference yesterday.
The minister emphasised the importance of involvement of all sectors of society to ensure that the society, especially the workforce, is able to adapt and not be left behind by digital developments, in line with the vision of a Smarter ASEAN.
As part of efforts for the workforce to adapt to digital developments, the roles of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) must be strengthened and supported with the need for capacity development programmes for the MSME workforce.
Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti added that Brunei Darussalam’s digitalisation agenda has been accelerated with focus on supporting MSMEs particularly during this challenging period.
“With collaboration between the government and the private sector, various initiatives have been introduced to encourage MSMEs to adopt technology such as the SkillsPlus and Coding.Bn programmes,” the minister said.
It is important for ASEAN and the OECD to continue its cooperation to achieve the vision of a smarter, inclusive ASEAN he said, and voiced Brunei Darussalam’s support towards regional digital transformation efforts in Southeast Asia.
Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti also reaffirmed Brunei Darussalam’s commitment towards supporting the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme (SEARP).
OECD member states and ASEAN member states were present.
The official opening of the conference also saw keynote remarks from Foreign Minister of Korea Chung Eui-Yong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai; and Secretary-General of the OECD Mathias Cormann.
Various sessions were held, featuring statements by ministers as well as policy dialogues towards achieving the vision of a smarter, greener and more inclusive ASEAN.