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Digital trade, technology could aid Southeast Asia’s recovery from the pandemic, says ADB

Digital trade, technology could aid Southeast Asia’s recovery from the pandemic, says ADB

13 May 2022

Leveraging advances in electronics and digital trade could support Southeast Asia’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In the report entitled “Post Covid-19 Economic Recovery in Southeast Asia”, ADB highlighted that the regional economy rebounded to 5.9% from a flat growth in 2020 and it projected an expansion of 4.7% this year.

“Recovery prospects in Southeast Asia are encouraging, but not without persistent risks, including heightened uncertainty from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the evolving conflict, the emergence of coronavirus variants and the scarring effects of the pandemic through large employment and education losses, production disruptions and fragile business confidence, and declining productivity growth.

“Supporting industries with the competitive advantage to propel a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery will not only require sector-specific interventions by governments, but cross-cutting measures that encourage an enabling business environment, improved infrastructure, and stronger intra-regional linkages,” said ADB director general for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam.

Meanwhile, the report also highlighted that the outbreak has posed new challenges for the tourism industry and it constitutes approximately 20% of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product.

ADB suggested restoring tourism demand through strong marketing campaigns, safer travel standards, more diversified tourism offerings, better paid and more skilled workers, and stronger crisis management response to build industry resilience.

On digital trade, ADB foresaw a strong growth potential in the region post pandemic.

“Much of the region’s digital trade now concentrates on digital marketplaces and information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO), while software development is picking up in some countries.

“As demand for digital products and services grows, it is important to enhance digital connectivity, invest in logistics and distribution facilities, develop an IT–BPO road map, support skills development and training, and rethink digital regulations to protect consumers,” it said.

Source: The Edge Markets

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