ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Ex-Pres. Arroyo to ASEAN: Invest in physical, digital infrastructure
Philippines: Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday underscored the importance of infrastructure — both physical and digital — in improving the connectivity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and enhance trade in the region.
"Efficient infrastructure is both physical and digital and that is a must for nations as well as for ASEAN as a whole," she said during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017.
According to Arroyo, investing in infrastructure will enhance the relations of the 10 member states of the ASEAN, which is set to complete its integration by the year 2025.
"2025 is supposed to be our year of full integration. If we achieve our vision in eight years, we have a great chance of being a global force in 50 years," she said.
The Philippines, for its part, plans to spend as much as P8.4 trillion to finance the "golden age of infrastructure" over the next six years, with P860.7 billion allocated to large-scale projects this year alone.
Arroyo noted, however, that ASEAN countries must first learn to adopt with the changes, especially in digital infrastructure.
According to Arroyo, it would be beneficial for technologically advanced countries to share their knowledge with other ASEAN peers who are not as advanced as others.
"Help introduce your little brothers to technology — financial technology, marketing technology," she said.
With this, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will also be able to benefit from the regional integration, she said.
"(MSMEs will) thrive rather than wither under the pressure of economic integration. SMEs must also become stronger," Arroyo said.
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