Saturday, 5 August 2017

(The Star) Call for Asean to tap into youth and technology

KUALA LUMPUR: Asean will benefit from tapping into its young population and embracing the digitisation of industry in order to meet its targets for 2050.

On the path for 2050, the grouping hopes to become the fourth largest economy in the world, currently ranked at sixth place.

Speaking after the Asean@50 conference yesterday, Asean-BAC Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid revealed that engagement with the youth is imperative for Asean.

“We want some kind of consultative process with them to draw the young in so that they know what Asean is and the Asean to come,” said Munir. “Asean is lucky to have a young population. But it is not using it. Asean must stop being formed exclusively through an aged, top-down process.”

Munir suggested the setting up of a consultative Asean youth council to deliberate on the youth engagement process in the next few months and make its proposals publicly available.

Meanwhile keynote speaker and secretary of trade and industry of the Philippines Ramon Lopez said that technology empowers the youth, and Asean needs to use it to get them involved.

“Technology levels the playing field, as it does not require that much capital, allowing the youth to take on a stronger role” Ramon said. He provides the example of Grab, which is now a competitive contender in the taxi business, even rendering many traditional taxi companies obsolete.