The World Economic Forum (WEF) is partnering with leading technological entities including Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Lazada to launch a Digital ASEAN programme. (Photo: thainews.prd.go.th)

Bangkok (NNT/VNA) – The World Economic Forum (WEF) is partnering with leading technological entities including Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Lazada to launch a Digital ASEAN programme, aiming to develop digital skills among some 20 million ASEAN citizens by 2020 with an emphasis on SMEs. 

Head of Asia-Pacific for WEF Justin Wood said that the programme will utilize 2 million USD to fund technology programmes in ASEAN universities. It will include internship opportunities at tech firms with the ultimate goal of building a strong digital workforce. Initial plans are to spur the employment of 200,000 ASEAN citizens. 

Thai Minister of the Digital Economy and Society Pichet Durongkaveroj, who is serving as an adviser to the programme, pointed out that Thailand will provide suggestions to the initiative while also engaging in information exchanges, especially in areas already being supported by state policies such as the Pracharat Internet programme, which is to install free internet for Thai citizens in 75,000 villages by next year.

With the Kingdom set to serve as ASEAN Chair in 2019, it will also be drafting a Digital Master Plan for the bloc covering four areas: connectivity, regulation, human resources development and Smart City development.-NNT/VNA