Bring Digital to Everyone, Propel Sustainable Development with ICT Technology

The 2022 ASEAN Leadership and Partnership Forum (ALPF) was held in Phnom Penh from 11th – 12th September 2022. As the Chair of ASEAN for 2022, Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, presided over the Opening Ceremony on the morning of 12th September 2022 and delivered the opening remarks. Mr. Sovann Yao, CEO of Huawei Cambodia attended the forum and spoke at the “Digital ASEAN” session along with  seven other panelists from the digital field.

In his opening remarks, Samdech Prime Minister said, “I proposed the establishment of ASEAN Green Deal that would allow the region to gradually transition into a community with sustainability, effective use of resources and resilience.”

“ASEAN must pay special attention and promote economic security to meet all basic and essential needs of our citizens, and ensure inclusive and equitable access to domestic and regional economic growth by developing strategic infrastructure, strengthening entrepreneurship, providing support to micro, small and medium enterprises, strengthen education, health and social protection, reducing development gaps, creating jobs and reducing income inequality, and ensuring food security” the Prime Minister added.

The Forum consists of five panel discussion sessions covering a wide range of topics including ASEAN Post Pandemic Recovery, Enhancing ASEAN Centrality, Digital ASEAN, Promoting Entrepreneurship, and ASEAN Connectivity.

Mr. Sovann, when attending the Digital ASEAN session, highlighted that “As one of the most populous and dynamic regions in the world, and with 125,000 new users coming onto the internet every day, ASEAN is set to become a top 5 digital economy by 2025. We all have learnt about the importance of digitalization. Thanks to the emergence of new technologies such as 5G, Cloud and AI, on-line communications, daily business operation can smoothly be conducted to maintain business as usual.”

He further underlined the 4 key elements for digitalization, namely digital infrastructure, digital platform and ecosystem, talent development, and green sustainable development. He also illustrated Huawei’s contribution in digital transformation in ASEAN, particularly in Cambodia.

“Digital Infrastructure, particularly connectivity including mobile network, fiber network is the very foundation of digitalization. Digital platform and ecosystem requires cooperation among all sectors, being public or private. For instance, in ASEAN Huawei annually supports over 10,000 start-ups in the ASEAN region, and same efforts are seen in Cambodia where we support the growth of over 200 start-ups. Some of them have already grown into leaders of their sectors. Moreover, we believe the younger generation will define the future of digitalization and the hope of future prosperity of all nations; thus, Digital Talent is vital. In ASEAN, Huawei collaborates with various stakeholders to train over tens of thousands of talents each year, in Cambodia, over 1,000 have been upskilling with us. In the area of sustainable development, we believe green power and smart PV solar technology are important means to gain green power supply. Sustainable development is the goal of all sectors. Take the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital as an example. It is generating 500,000 kWh of green electricity via new Huawei technology and has won the title of the best hospital in Cambodia in 2021” said Mr. Sovann Yao.

“Cambodia, and ASEAN as a whole has great potential in digitalization, but it comes along with great challenges. Until today, a big number of people are still not yet connected, particularly in remote areas. I hope we can turn our eyes to these areas and provide support so that the merits of digital connectivity can be shared by everyone” Mr. Yao advocates.

ALPF is an important Forum that brings together Leaders from Government, Businesses, Think Tanks and Civil Society to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by ASEAN and the way forward under the new normal. The 2022 ALPF focusing on” Partnership for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, attracted more than 300 high-level delegates from both public and private sectors of the ASEAN region and beyond. During the Forum, other key issues and business and investments opportunities in ASEAN were also discussed with inspiring take-aways.

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