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Overview

There are significant benefits from the use of digital technologies and across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, governments are developing their domestic digital economies and seeking trade opportunities to increase the scale, speed, and scope of trade. Specifically, governments have been ramping up efforts to digitalize in response to COVID-19. Governments are increasingly looking at digital technologies, applications and hardware as way of reaching citizens and ensuring the continuation of existing government services during the pandemic. At the same time, governments have used this opportunity to bring forward any future plans to develop the digital economy, and review and revise plans to improve government processes, streamline resources, broaden delivery of public services, facilitate trade and deploy smart technologies to improve citizen’s lives. These strategies, national plans, and initiatives employed by ASEAN Member States (AMS) are typically mid- to long-term activities designed to meet the country’s policy goals.

However, as governments accelerate their digital initiatives, they are also faced with unprecedented socioeconomic pressures: the pandemic has pushed economies into recession; unemployment levels are soaring, and the operating budgets of government agencies and departments will become tighter. It is in this context that AMS roadmaps have been created to outline where international standards can advance and accelerate impact and opportunity, as the region begins emerging from the pandemic.

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