Bridging the Great Digital Divide in the Region and Beyond: BRI for the Common Good
(25 August 2023)
Featured Photo: The Sino-Singapore Dialogue speakers. From left: Asso Prof Wilson Wong (黄伟豪) (panelist), Founding Director of Data Science and Policy Studies Programme, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prof Ang Hak Seng (洪合成) (moderator), Director of Centre of Excellence for Social Good, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Ms Penny Low (刘𨮒琳) (panelist), Founder of Singapore Innovation Park and former Member of Parliament, Dr Zhang Monan (张茉楠) (panelist), Principal Investigator, Institute of American and European Studies, China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, Prof Tang Zhimin (汤之敏) (panelist), Founding Dean of International College & Director of China-ASEAN Studies, Panyapiwat Institute of Management of Thailand, Prof Wang Shengkai (王胜开) (panelist), Professor in Belt and Road Economic Research Institute, Renmin University of China
The 14th Stratagem Group-Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Sino-Singapore Dialogue was held on 25 August 2023, in conjunction with the Lien International Conference on Good Governance. The Sino-Singapore Dialogue was themed “Bridging the Great Digital Divide in the Region and Beyond: BRI for the Common Good” and involved international speakers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. About 300 guests, including government officials, academics and industrial practitioners from the region and beyond attended the dialogue at Raffles City Convention Centre.
Prof Ang Hak Seng, Director of Centre of Excellence for Social Good, Singapore University of Social Sciences, moderated the dialogue and provided the background and context for the discussion. Prof Ang said that digital-related technologies would be the key driver for the next wave of economic growth. Digital-related technologies offers countries and peoples with requisite know-how disproportionate economic rewards and benefits; hence accentuate the wealth divide between the haves and the have-nots of digital technologies. At the dialogue, the moderator and panelists agreed that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with its spirit of promoting mutually beneficial collaboration among countries is well placed to contribute to the building of transnational digital infrastructure and e-commerce platforms, in order to level the playing field for countries on both sides of the digital divide. In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the inception of BRI this year, it would be timely to think about a Digital-BRI. Digital-BRI can play a critical role in enhancing digital policy coordination among all relevant stakeholders, increasing multilateralism and focusing on the exploitation of digital technologies for the common good of Digital-BRI partner countries. In this regard, Digital-BRI needs to adopt multilateral rules and international best practices pertaining to project development, operation, procurement, as well as tendering and bidding; and these together with appropriate technology transfer and capacity building would allow Digital-BRI partner countries derive maximum values from Digital-BRI projects.