The increasing use of digital technologies in Southeast Asia (SEA) is ushering in the digital transformation of economies and societies across the region. Not only does this transformation facilitate new services, products and applications. It has the power to change how people live and work. To fully realise this potential, it is important to examine how best to organise the provision and use of these services and what can be learned from the different models applied in the region and elsewhere, with the particular aim of promoting an environment conducive to fostering the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This opportunity arises at a time of tremendous change in the commercial and technological environment.
To help countries to take action to make the digital transformation work for growth and well-being, the OECD has conducted an extensive Going Digital project (OECD, 2019). This project identified seven key policy areas that underpin this report: enhancing access to communication services and related technologies; increasing the use of digital services and applications; unleashing digital innovation; ensuring good jobs; promoting social prosperity; strengthening trust; and fostering market openness.
These pillars are interrelated building blocks that together constitute an integrated policy framework for the digital transformation. SEA Going Digital: Connecting SMEs addresses these seven policy areas through the lens of the particular needs of SMEs in SEA. An essential element to enable SMEs to “go digital” is connectivity, without which the digital transformation cannot be realised. In this regard, the report analyses the state of connectivity in SEA as well as the adoption and use of digital services. It also proposes a set of policies aimed at building connectivity in the region and spurring the adoption of digital services by SMEs.
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