Southeast Asian countries can benefit from investments in green infrastructure, digital transformation, big data and revenue mobilisation through tax reform as the region recovers from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Wednesday.
"As countries slowly begin to emerge from the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic, we now stand at a critical juncture. The pandemic offers us a unique opportunity to rebuild for a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery," said Asakawa at the opening session of the second Southeast Asia Development Symposium.
"The pandemic is presenting all of us with unprecedented challenges and we need to forge a new path forward together, one which taps new ideas and technologies, and leverages our existing platforms for innovation and partnership," he said.
Developing economies in southeast Asia can benefit from the action in three key policy areas which are laid out in a series of policy briefs released by ADB.
First, investing in environmentally sustainable development in five sectors -- agriculture, oceans, urban transport, waste management and clean energy -- can create 30 million jobs in by 2030.
Second, expanding the tax base, maximising tax compliance and simplifying the compliance process will significantly boost governments' revenue and better position them to finance pandemic recovery.
Third, by making better use of big data, countries can capitalise on the region's digital transformation to enhance the delivery of health care, social protection, and education.
The symposium titled 'Innovation through Collaboration: Planning for Inclusive Post-Covid-19 Recovery' is being held virtually on March 17 and 18. The event will explore how southeast Asian nations can improve access to vaccines, revitalise businesses, create jobs and harness big data and new technology to support growth.
Big data refers to the science of using artificial intelligence like machine learning to analyse large amounts of data for insights beyond what is captured in standard databases.
Other keynote speakers of the plenary session included Philippine Finance Secretary and ADB Governor Carlos G Dominguez; United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana; Google Vice-President and Google.org President Jacquelline Fuller; International Vaccine Institute Director General Jerome Kim; and Bye Bye Plastic Bags and Youthtopia Voices founder Melati Wijsen.
The two-day event is bringing together more than 3,400 high-level government officials, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders from more than 100 countries.