ASEAN to Potentially Enter World’s Top 5 Digital Economy in 2025
MAKATI CITY, Philippines (February 7, 2023) – In today’s digital age, radical change is necessary to reinvent the human capital development ecosystem and produce more sustainable, future-ready workforces that can contribute to the sustainable development competitiveness of ASEAN. Despite ASEAN being seen as lagging behind in the digital economy, it has the potential to become one of the top 5 digital economies in the world by 2025.
This, according to Confexhub Chief Executive Officer Paul Yeo, as he addressed over 800 on-site and online participants of the Philippines Future Skills Summit on Tuesday.
“Across the world, digital products are transforming industries, enriching lives, and propelling progress. We are already seeing how the digital revolution is transforming our daily life and economic activities, making physical cash increasingly obsolete,” he said.
Due to these developments, Yeo noted that this has led to an unprecedented increase in the demand of digital skills while emphasizing the importance of having a favorable learning ecosystem in the region that is capable of cultivating more digital talents.
As digital transformation became more relevant than ever, the Philippines Future Skills Summit 2023 aimed to deliberate on new models and strategies in addressing the ever-increasing demand for digital talents as the Philippines embark full-steam in the digital transformation agenda.
“The outcome of today’s summit will act as a living document that could be updated periodically for the stakeholders involved in the digital economy, education, TVET, science, technology, and human resources when we are doing talent development policies to address the changing world of work,” Yeo said.
Future-ready workforce at the center of Phl’s digital transformation strategy
In his inaugural address, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized that creating a future-ready workforce is at the core of the country’s national strategy for digital transformation.
“Digital transformation is a compelling and vital change we must pursue amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Embracing 4IR technologies is proving crucial to a post-pandemic future. Developments such as automation and digitalization hold immense potential to create new economic opportunities, boosting productivity at the workplace and generating more quality jobs,” he said.
He also said that the Philippine government recognizes the capability of digital technology to sustain the country’s economy post-pandemic.
“Our government recognizes digital technology capabilities in the Philippines as critical to a sustainable post-COVID-19 economy. By positioning digital technology as enabler, DTI has launched digital transformation initiatives, such as the Science, Technology, and Innovation-driven industrial strategy 2022-2028, and the Ecommerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap. These plans aim to help drive the Philippine Digital Economy to hit a gross merchandise value of over USD100 billion by 2030,” he noted.
Further, Pascual highlighted the importance of innovation and digitalization for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as it enables businesses to be connected to producers and consumers.
“Adapting 4IR technologies and embracing innovation are only the means. Part of our commitment is to enable our businesses, especially MSMEs to embrace digital transformation. Digital transformation enables enterprises to operate efficiently, reduce costs, reach bigger markets, and earn profits. Digital systems developed by tech startups are already connecting sari-sari stores to manufacturers and financing firms,” he added.
Philippine Skills Framework to add digital transformation component
In her special address, Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy (PTTC-GMEA) Executive Director and Philippine Skills Framework Project Director Nelly Nita Dillera noted that “during the pandemic, the ones who invested in digital infrastructure as well as developed the capability of their team as far as digitalization is concerned made it easy to pivot.”
She said that while the PSF is working on industrial transformation, it must also include digital transformation in its strategy.
“The Philippine Skills Framework is doing the industrial transformation side of the society, but what’s also important and should be added is the digital transformation component. We have been working with industrial transformation a lot, but we’re here today because we are looking at how we can move forward as far as digital transformation is concerned,” she said.
The Philippine Skills Framework is a national strategy aimed at developing a future-ready workforce in the Philippines. It is designed to provide a comprehensive guide for individuals and businesses to assess their skills, identify training and development opportunities, and support the country’s efforts in upskilling and reskilling Filipino talents.
The Philippines Future Skills Summit 2023, co-organized by Confexhub, eduClaaS, Microsoft, the Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy, Commission of Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, brought together experts, policymakers, and industry leaders in a discussion about the future of work and the skills that will be required to succeed in the years to come.
The event discussed trends, challenges, and future directions to address the needs of stakeholders to shape the future of the workforce and narrow the digital divide.
This year’s theme “Building a Future-Ready Workforce,” emphasized the importance of preparing the workforce for the challenges of tomorrow.