The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and Microsoft launched the APAC Leaders Digital Alliance today.

Themed Digital for Growth: Harnessing the Power of Data for National Recovery, this first meeting included policymakers from Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as leading academics and subject matter experts from the National University of Singapore, World Bank, IDC, and Microsoft.

The dialogue explored holistic approaches to digital adoption and policy considerations for data-driven decision making. Global and regional public sector leaders also shared their perspectives on the future of work and the critical need for digital skills in the civil service.

“This is truly momentous. This partnership is the first of its kind for us at Microsoft. APAC countries have undoubtedly witnessed the pivotal role of technology in job creation, staying competitive, and ensuring business and economic continuity at the height of the pandemic. In APAC, we’re bringing this digital-first agenda to life in many of our markets. Early this year we launched Berdayakan Indonesia and Bersama Malaysia initiatives to support the countries’ national digital transformation plans. As part of this, we committed to skill millions of people in both countries. There has never been a better time to bring government leaders together to plan for the next phase of APAC’s economic recovery and to build resilience,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, National Transformation Partnerships, Microsoft.

“At Microsoft, we want to help every person and every organization on the planet achieve more. But in a world of continued disruption, we can only make this possible in Singapore by building a resilient, digitally inclusive nation. It’s not a journey that anyone can undertake alone. Our APAC Digital Alliance will encourage the sharing of best practices for secure cloud and responsible AI environments that demonstrate trust, deep partnership, close the gap between skilling and employability and deliver of societal impact on our communities. Through strategic public-private partnerships, we will be able to make real impact and achieve our common mission, together,” added Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

Advancing national recovery and resilience with Cloud and Artificial Intelligence

In a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 8 out of 10 government respondents noted increases in digital investments since the pandemic. They acknowledged the role of digital transformation in keeping citizens healthy and safe, with the pandemic underscoring the importance of this work.

“This global pandemic has made ever more apparent one of the most powerful and quietly pervasive underlying trends of our lifetime:  The imperative for ever greater digitisation. It is not just public health disruptions, but also economic and social forces driving the world in that direction. To advance, we need new ways to build trust and collaboration among private industry and public service leaders. This APAC Leaders Digital Alliance will do exactly that, by bringing together expert knowledge and insightful thinking,” said Danny Quah, Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics and Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.

The transformation imperative study by The Economist revealed that in APAC, technology enabling economic recovery remains top of mind for governments and organizations in the region. Digitally prepared government agencies were able to better navigate the upheavals and challenges presented by the pandemic. Investing in digital transformation will ensure the resiliency of government operations in preparing for any future scenarios.

Gerald Wang, Head of IDC Asia Pacific Public Sector shares, “Today, many nations, cities, and communities are charting into unprecedented digital ecosystems as countries cautiously open their borders. The past 2 years of digital adoption for public sector services, and its pervasive use has been extraordinary. As we move into 2022, conversations of world leaders are across three broad concerns of security, supply chain crisis, and sustainability and IT leaders would do well to consider the following: digital cognizance and awareness through public policies and regulations; digital asset governance; digital investments and traceable performance metrics for constituents’ and taxpayers’ accountability; and continually innovating with emerging technologies like 5G, next-gen cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain, AR/VR, IoT and edge computing, and quantum computing.”

Charting the next steps for the APAC Leaders Digital Alliance

Based on the insights and recommendations shared during this inaugural dialogue, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the School of Continuing and Lifelong Education at the National University of Singapore will develop a paper focused on national recovery and the digital economy. The paper is intended to serve as a roadmap for the participating countries to accelerate the next steps needed for economic recovery and digital integration. It will be published in early 2022.

“As our countries forge ahead toward a post-pandemic world, Microsoft is committed to supporting governments as a trusted strategic technology advisor and provider as they harness the power of Cloud and AI for inclusive national economic recovery and resilience. More importantly, by collaborating with partners like the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the School of Continuing and Lifelong Education at the National University of Singapore, we can bring together the ecosystem for strengthened partnerships between the public and private sectors. This will empower us to reimagine the future and solve some of the biggest national challenges we see in our countries,” said Courtois.

The APAC Leaders Digital Alliance will re-convene in June 2022 to continue the dialogue and navigate local environments for long-term action and change.


About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is an autonomous, professional graduate school of the National University of Singapore. Its mission is to educate and train policymakers and leaders, with the objective of raising the standards of governance throughout the region, improving the lives of its people, and, in so doing, contributing to the transformation of Asia and beyond. In addition to Masters and PhD programmes, the LKYSPP offers high quality customised Executive Programmes that cater to the needs of time-constrained senior managers and professionals, with the aim of delivering creative solutions to real management and leadership challenges.

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