SINGAPORE: New technological initiatives and agreements announced during the World Economic Forum (WEF) will attract more investments to Singapore and increase job opportunities for Singaporeans, said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran on Thursday (Jan 23).
He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the WEF in Davos, after Singapore introduced a new artificial intelligence (AI) governance framework and announced developments on two international agreements on digital trade.
The new initiatives will benefit Singaporeans on several levels, said Mr Iswaran.
“At the macro-economic level, this is about creating more opportunities for our economy as a whole,” he said.
For local businesses and workers, adoption of new technologies will increase opportunities as it would “demystify” the technology and allow them to plug into the digital economy easily.
By participating in these initiatives and the “global discourse”, Singapore can earn a seat with “global decision makers” such as governments and private companies, who will “want to do more with us”, he added.
“When business leaders decide they want to do more, it means more investments and it means more job opportunities for Singaporeans,” he said.
Singapore announced a set of three initiatives aimed at improving consumer trust on the use and governance of AI on Tuesday. The initiatives provide guidelines for companies looking to adopt AI technologies, based on ethical principles.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing also announced on Tuesday that Singapore reached a “substantial conclusion” on an agreement meant to advance digital trade with New Zealand and Chile.
READ: 'Substantial conclusion' reached between Singapore, New Zealand and Chile on digital economy partnership
And on Wednesday, Singapore signed an agreement partnering the International Chamber of Commerce and 17 international corporations to develop the Ministry of Communications and Information’s TradeTrust, which allows local and global exchange of digital trade documentation on a public blockchain.
“We have always been an economy that is thriving on connectivity, on innovation and talent, and at this juncture in our evolution, the digital economy presents a significant new set of opportunities, if we’re able to harness the innovations that go with it,” said Mr Iswaran.
RECOGNISING SINGAPORE’S ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION
Countries and companies wanting to partner Singapore shows that they recognise the role that Singapore has played in the digital economy and the contribution that it can make, said Mr Iswaran.
“It underscores Singapore’s competitiveness and value proposition – as a place to do business, as a place that thrives with innovation, and as a place where you can explore new ideas and make them real possibilities,” he said.
Mr Iswaran also explained that the Government started on TradeTrust, as “trade is the lifeblood of Singapore”.
“We recognise that the more efficient the trade can be done, and if it can be conducted through digital platforms with trust, then the greater the scope and opportunity,” he said.
But the real test of TradeTrust would be “whether it is recognised and adopted by the relevant private sector players and whether it can scale … because that validates the value of this platform and the potential it has to help businesses do things better”, he said.
While companies have signed with TradeTrust, Singapore cannot take this validation for granted “because it’s a very dynamic space”, added Mr Iswaran.
“We have kept the platform open, so it’s open source code, so that more can come on board and articulate into it.
“The idea is to fully realise the benefits of scale and network. That’s what it’s all about. Because if you don’t have scale, if you don’t have the network effect, then trade will not be able to fully realise its potential.”