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April 26, 2019

Vice President U Henry Van Thio discusses digital economy development

Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivers the opening speech at the second meeting of the Digital Economy Development Committee at the Ministry of Planning and Finance in Nay Pyi Taw. photo: mna
Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivers the opening speech at the second meeting of the Digital Economy Development Committee at the Ministry of Planning and Finance in Nay Pyi Taw. photo: MNA

The second meeting of the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) was held at the Ministry of Planning and Finance in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning. Vice President U Henry Van Thio, in his capacity as patron of the committee, delivered the opening speech at the meeting.

History of the DEDC
In his speech, the Vice President explained the purpose of the DEDC, saying it was formed to establish digital corporations and incorporate digital technology in the agricultural, livestock, and production sectors, and in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to raise their competitive abilities and production capacity so as to increase national revenue. In addition, citizens from rural areas and the rest of the country will be able to raise their living standards using digital technology, said the Vice President.

Digital businesses will change our world
He said the income from digital businesses for ASEAN countries in 2015 was US$150 billion and it was projected to reach up to US$1 trillion by 2025. Similarly, the income from digital businesses around the world in 2016 was equal to 15.5 per cent of the global GDP, and was projected to rise up to 25 per cent in 2020.

The second meeting of the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) was held at the Ministry of Planning and Finance in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning. Vice President U Henry Van Thio, in his capacity as patron of the committee, delivered the opening speech at the meeting.

History of the DEDC
In his speech, the Vice President explained the purpose of the DEDC, saying it was formed to establish digital corporations and incorporate digital technology in the agricultural, livestock, and production sectors, and in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to raise their competitive abilities and production capacity so as to increase national revenue. In addition, citizens from rural areas and the rest of the country will be able to raise their living standards using digital technology, said the Vice President.

Digital businesses will change our world
He said the income from digital businesses for ASEAN countries in 2015 was US$150 billion and it was projected to reach up to US$1 trillion by 2025. Similarly, the income from digital businesses around the world in 2016 was equal to 15.5 per cent of the global GDP, and was projected to rise up to 25 per cent in 2020.
Statistics showed that digital businesses would grow 2.5 times faster than other businesses and investing in digital businesses could garner 6.7 times more benefits than investing in other types of businesses, said the Vice President.
He said the digital economy, also referred to as digital trade and e-commerce, would bring about the 4th Industrial Revolution by incorporating e-Government and e—Community systems.
The Vice President said over 80 per cent of mobile phone users in Myanmar own a smartphone, and this is a perfect opportunity to leapfrog development in our country’s digital sector.
He said adapting to the 4th Industrial Revolution would require creating a digitally connected society to enable the public to receive the necessary skills and technology to adapt along with the times. He said this would allow people from both rural and urban areas to have access to digital services such as electronic trading, digital healthcare, and online education.

Myanmar must anticipate digital change
The Vice President said e-commerce, digital payment, and digital markets must be developed in order for the public to have widespread usage. He said government services and payments must become available over a digital network too. He said an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem needed to be established in Myanmar to encourage the digital economy and the emergence of new jobs related to technology.
The Vice President said we must create an attractive environment for foreign investors so that we can bring about a digital transformation and establish a digital economy ecosystem. He said we must consider the effects on businesses employing conventional selling techniques and the lives of workers without adequate digital skills who may face unemployment. He said we must plan carefully to handle the digital disruption.
The Vice President said experts from the private sector have conducted capacity development courses for civil servants and in technological universities. He said many of Yangon’s technological universities and hospitals have been outfitted with highspeed fiber optic networks and international technology companies have been invited to bring internet connectivity into every school. He said plans were underway to build innovation centers in Yangon and Mandalay, and the Digital Myanmar Report has been officially published.

Closing remarks
The main purpose of today’s meeting, said the Vice President, was to analyze the strengths, requirements, and challenges of the digital economy system, and to approve a draft roadmap for the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC) that was in line with the country’s existing situation. He said the roadmap would be a living document that could be edited and improved overtime.
He said the roadmap would have 6 strategy frameworks, 9 priority projects, and short-term and long-term action plans designed depending on the needs of the current strategy. He concluded by urging the attendees to pour out ideas and suggestions that would enhance the livelihoods of the people of Myanmar.

DEDC members give presentations
U Soe Win, Union Minister for Planning and Finance and DEDC Chairman, explained the short-term action plans necessary for Myanmar to implement the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 in time.
Permanent Secretary U Tun Tun Naing, DEDC’s secretary, explained the completed tasks outlined during the first DEDC meeting, and tasks performed by relevant departments and the private sector for developing the digital economy sector. DEDC member U Mya Moe Aung explained the completed tasks concerning the digital economy development roadmap.

Attendees discuss digital ventures
Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications, U Tar Oo, permanent secretaries, department heads and experts from the private sector discussed cyber security and adding digital awareness modules in primary school curriculums. They also discussed international e-Commerce, Myanmar e-Trade, providing services to taxpayers using modern ICT technology, bringing internet connectivity to schools in remote rural areas, and developing the digital economy sector.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio responded to the discussions and said it was important to continue working on establishing data centers throughout Myanmar.
He said it was important to balance constructing the necessary infrastructure for developing the digital economy with emphasis on cyber security. He instructed for the discussions made at the day’s meeting to be incorporated into the committee’s draft roadmap and to assign appropriate tasks to the departments and organizations. —MNA  (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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