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Socio-Economic Development Strategy

Over recent decades, digitalisation has transformed the world economy into a more integrated, complex and dynamic system. Emerging Asian economies have been active participants in this new wave of change. The region is being transformed by the rapid adoption of technologies. Internet use, a prerequisite for participation in most aspects of the digital economy, has risen steadily across the region in recent years, although there are still significant differences between countries. Business activity, trade and productivity in manufacturing and services sectors have been affected. These trends are expected to continue in the future, but will also be influenced by emerging technologies and business models. While digitalisation presents many opportunities, considerable challenges remain in realising its potential to support the development of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the region. Looking to the future, digitalisation can benefit the region as a whole and help to level the playing field for small and large businesses in ASEAN. This was highlighted in the ASEAN 2017 MSME Business Summit held in Manila in July this year. This is an appropriate year to be looking at what lies ahead; 2017 marks an important milestone for ASEAN as a regional community with the celebration of the association’s 50-year anniversary. This is an opportune time for the region to not only take stock of how much it has achieved over the past five decades, it is also the perfect opportunity to look forward and consider what will be needed to achieve the vision of a unified and seamless ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in the years to come. The policy challenges and recommendations highlighted in the 2018 edition of the Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India facilitate policy dialogue through fora such as the OECD’s Southeast Asia Regional Programme (SEARP) and seek to inform those concerned with the region’s growth and development.