ADB President discusses digital technology in Singapore

An announcement from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) highlighted the recent 2-day visit of Mr Takehiko Nakao, ADB President, to Singapore where he met up with Singapore officials and business leaders to discuss digital technology in development.

Maximising digital technologies; as a way to improve public service delivery, promote inclusive economic growth, and make business practices more effective and efficient, was the main topic during a recent trip to Singapore.

On a 2-day visit, ADB President Mr Takehiko Nakao met with Singapore Minister for Communications and Information Mr S. Iswaran, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Managing Director Mr Ravi Menon, and senior business leaders.

“Singapore has been a leader in promoting technological innovation and adaptation in Asia and the Pacific,” said Mr Nakao.

He added, “ADB and its developing member countries can draw many lessons from Singapore’s example.”

While there, Mr Nakao and Mr Iswaran discussed how the Singapore government partners with the private sector to foster a digital economy and digitally-ready society.

In his meeting at the MAS, Mr Nakao and Mr Menon discussed how the central bank is using digital technologies to upgrade staff skills and provide better services in terms of supervision, settlement systems, and statistics.

Topics on the impact of new technologies on financial inclusion; the landscape of financial industries; regulations such as privacy, cybersecurity, fraud, and anti-money laundering; monetary policy, and financial stability were also discussed. 

Matters concerning the best practises in enterprise digital transformation and use of IT technologies were discussed by Mr Nakao with private sector leaders.

ADB, through its Office of Information Systems and Technology, is improving its business processes through a large-scale upgrading of internal technologies to respond more effectively and efficiently to its clients.

ADB is also promoting digital technology in its projects and programs in such areas as financial inclusion, health services, education, and climate resilient agriculture. In March 2018, ADB established a new Digital Technology for Development Unit within the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department.

At the Governor’s Seminar during ADB’s 51st Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines, Mr Nakao said, “Countries that maintain flexible policies, support improvements to education, and put in place a stronger social safety net will be well positioned to take advantage of change that new technologies will bring to the region.”

ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2018 presented that despite concerns with new technologies and automation leading to widespread job losses, there are four reasons for optimism about developing Asia’s job prospects.

First, new technologies often automate some tasks of a job, not the whole job.

Second, automation takes place only where it is both technically and economically feasible, and it has so far been concentrated in the region’s capital-intensive manufacturing with relatively low employment levels.

Third, jobs created by rising domestic demand more than compensate for job losses due to technological advances. This job creation will likely continue as a growing middle class consumes more and better goods and services.

Fourth, technological advances and rising incomes will lead to new occupations and industries, further offsetting labour displacement due to automation.  

ADB, based in Manila, Philippines, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. It assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, 48 of which is from the Asia and the Pacific region. In 2017, ADB operations totalled US$32.2 billion, including US$11.9 billion in co-financing.

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