HANOI, Vietnam, Sept 13 (NNN-VNA) - Leaders of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members, gathered here for the 2018 World Economic Forum on ASEAN, stressed the importance of fully tapping the Fourth Industrial Revolution for socioeconomic development.

"Digitalisation has become a new growth catalyst," Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Techo Hun Sen said, adding that, the technological frontier will create many positive changes.

To tap great potential of the Fourth industrial revolution and minimise its potential negative impact, the Cambodian prime minister proposed ASEAN countries enhance quality of education and training, sharpen skills of labourers and entrepreneurs, seek innovations, introduce new business models, and improve hard and soft infrastructure, especially their regional connectivity capabilities.

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, said, people should not be afraid of having smaller incomes or losing jobs due to automation, because the revolution will help increase productivity and efficiency, lower production cost of goods and services, and utilise both natural and human resources more effectively. "As our economies develop, they are driven increasingly not by natural resources, which are limited, but human talent, which is unlimited," Widodo said.

Meanwhile, Lao Prime Minister, Thongloun Sisoulith, proposed developing ASEAN into a region of innovation with high competitiveness, better information and communication technology infrastructure, quicker trade and investment facilitation, and narrower science and technology gaps among members.

Highlighting recent technological achievements, which have led to practical results in Myanmar, such as sharp decline in prices of mobile phones and rapid growth of banking services, Myanmar's State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, said, the revolution should be tapped to benefit people of all ages and from all areas.

Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said, individual countries' approaches to the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be linked with the construction and development of the ASEAN Community.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister, Prajin Juntong, agreed that ASEAN should be connected physically and digitally amid the revolution, which helps fuel economic growth. Thailand has implemented a "Thailand 4.0" policy, to shift its economic focus towards an innovation-driven economy, he noted.

Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, also spoke highly of digital economy and new technology, proposing countries to intensify application of new technologies, to share innovations and new values, as well as, to forge connectivity for sustainable development.

The five leaders agreed that ASEAN members in general, and Mekong countries in particular, can no longer depend just on natural resources. They should embrace innovation, reform, creativity to connect the Mekong countries in a more dynamic way for sustainable development.-- NNN-VNA

Source: NAM News Network