Thailand working with WEF on Digital ASEAN program

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Bangkok – The World Economic Forum (WEF) is partnering with leading technological entities including Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Lazada to launch a Digital ASEAN program, aiming to develop digital skills among some 20 million ASEAN citizens by 2020 with an emphasis on SMEs.

Head of Asia-Pacific for WEF Justin Wood, says that the program will utilize 2 million USD to fund technology programs in ASEAN universities. It will include internship opportunities at tech firms with the ultimate goal of building a strong digital workforce. Initial plans are to spur the employment of 200,000 ASEAN citizens.

Thailand’s Minister of the Digital Economy and Society, Pichet Durongkaveroj , who is serving as an adviser to the program, pointed out that Thailand will provide suggestions to the initiative while also engaging in information exchanges, especially in areas already being supported by state policies such as the Pracharat Internet program, which is to install free internet for Thai citizens in 75,000 villages by next year. With the kingdom set to serve as ASEAN Chair in 2019, it will also be drafting a Digital Master Plan for the bloc covering four areas: connectivity, regulation, human resource development and Smart City development.