Smart Axiata and a number of private sector representatives attended the first ASEAN PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTOR DIALOGUE on Economic Recovery and Digital Economy Integration at the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) on November 10, 2022.

           The economic damage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led ASEAN to convene several meetings, one of which was the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits’ ministerial dialogue in Cambodia. The roundtable discussion, hosted by MISTI, demonstrates the cooperation and commitment of ASEAN nations, research institutions, the private sector and key development partners, such as the World Bank, Asia Development Bank and Global Entrepreneurship Network, to revitalize economies after the pandemic.

           Moderated by H.E. Dr. Sok Siphana, senior advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia, the dialogue emphasized the importance of digital inclusion for all customers and business entities. Creating new digital citizens is seen as fundamental to the digital economy and economic growth. These digital citizens must have the skills and knowledge to understand data and the latest technologies, and they need to be confident with digital payments, which enable online shopping, online studying and digital business operations. These transformations are to be steered and actively supported by all market players, those in the public and private spheres, various industries and different countries.

           The private sector's role in the post-pandemic economic recovery and the restart of socio-economic activity in the ASEAN region was also emphasized by the Royal Government of Cambodia. The involvement of the private sector fosters an inclusive, resilient, competitive, sustainable and equitable economy while also deepening the bloc’s economic integration.

           Mila Kusheva, chief marketing officer at Smart Axiata, who took part in the conversation, said: "It is an honor to be involved. This is Smart Axiata's first time participating in an ASEAN ministerial dialogue. It presents a unique opportunity for the private sector to understand the viewpoints of ministers and senior officials on policies related to economic recovery in ASEAN and digital economy integration, as well as to contribute the private sector’s viewpoints in building frameworks for a sustainable and resilient economy. We hope to take part in more events like this in the future.”

           “The achievements that Cambodia has made to date are results of cooperation from the private sector, research institutes, national and international organisations, development partners, our friendly countries, and especially the Cambodian people. With this regard, Cambodia would like to join all ASEAN Member States to support the need of speeding up the study for the digital economy framework Agreement to examine areas that can be included in a framework to accelerate ASEAN’s digital integration towards a regionally integrated economy. We do wish that the study will be finalized soonest,” said H.E. Kitti Settha Pandita Cham Prasidh, senior minister, minister of Industry Science, Technology and Innovation.