The New Normal: Driving Economic Recovery through Digital Innovation

Digital technology is helping offset the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Countries in Asia and other parts of the world are using digital tools to support contact tracing, health monitoring, communications, and decision making. Technology-driven solutions are also becoming an integral part of longer-term economic recovery.

On 21 October 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will hold a symposium to explore policies that can help Southeast Asian nations achieve a competitive edge in the age of disruptive technology. The first annual Southeast Asia Development Symposium (SEADS) will focus on “The New Normal: Driving Economic Recovery through Digital Innovation.” The virtual symposium will provide government officials, industry leaders, development officials, and other stakeholders with a unique opportunity to explore innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Keynote speakers are

  • ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa;
  • Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Finance Minister for Indonesia;
  • Sherie Ng, General Manager for APAC, Public Sector, Microsoft; and
  • Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Startups.

Other featured speakers include

  • Nadiem Anwar Makarim, Minister of Education and Culture for Indonesia;
  • Phan Phalla, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodia; and
  • senior executives from Amazon Web Services, Google, Grab, Lazada, Mastercard, mClinica, MeshMinds, and Solve Education!

There will also be sessions on the following topics:

  • Emerging from an Economic Crisis—What Role for Technology Adoption?,
  • The Digital Economy Revolution, Access for All: Remote Learning and EdTech,
  • Leveraging Digital Tech for Healthcare, and
  • From Technology to Leadership: Putting the Transformation Back into Digital.

In tandem with the launch of the symposium, a knowledge and innovation platform, Southeast Asia Development Solutions, also SEADS, will be launched. The SEADS platform will provide insights on new technologies, innovations, and best practices that can help countries address pressing development challenges. The SEADS platform will also facilitate matchmaking, support knowledge sharing, and provide capacity-building opportunities.

ADB will also launch a hackathon, Re-establishing Tourism Confidence through Innovative Digital Solutions, which is open to startups, companies, universities, research organizations, students, and ADB employees, who can design tech solutions that will restore tourism confidence in the wake of the pandemic. The virtual challenge will run through 2020. The most successful pilots will be picked early next year.

SEADS 2020 will also feature special partner events that will focus on innovation, inclusive recovery, and cutting-edge digital technology that can help address COVID-19.

Registration is free and until 19 October only. To learn more about SEADS and to register, go to:

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