Latest ASEAN news

‘Massive opportunities’ for ASEAN if manufacturers look beyond China

In a media interview with CNBC, Professor Kishore Mahbubani shares how US VP Kamala Harris' visit to Singapore and Vietnam has emphasised that ASEAN will be an important arena of geopolitical competition between the US and China. He asserts that her visit to Southeast Asia is a "very positive development" and that it will benefit the region.


Even as companies seek to reorient their supply chains to reduce their reliance on China, Mahbubani reiterates that there is still strong dependence on China by MNCs as "no country can match [their] capabilities in so many areas". China accounts for the highest amount of imports in the US at 41% of its total imports. However, he advocates for a China+1 strategy as companies will need additional sources for manufacturing and supplies, instead of relying solely on China.  This creates a huge opportunities for ASEAN, as the US has invested in ASEAN more than it has in China, India and Korea combined. Southeast Asia provides "massive opportunities for American business, not to substitute what China is doing, but to complement it."

Source: CNBC

Date: 25 August 2021

Link: 'Massive opportunities' for ASEAN if manufacturers look beyond China ( 

Vietnamese outbound investment continues to rise despite the pandemic

In the first seven months of 2021, Vietnamese businesses invested nearly $570 million in overseas markets, more than 2.3 times as much as in the same period last year.

According to the Ministry of Investment and Planning, 28 projects were granted new investment registration certificates during the period with a total registered capital of $145.3 million, equal to 70.4 percent of the corresponding period last year. 11 overseas projects adjusted capital with a total additional $424.8 million, 9.1 times as much as last year.

Vietnamese businesses have invested in 12 fields. Science and technology took the lead with new and added capital of $270.8 million, accounting for 47.5 percent of the total investment capital abroad. The wholesale and retail industry ranked second with a total of six investments with $148.6 million.

In addition, Vietnamese investors have poured capital into 18 countries and territories. The US was the largest destination for Vietnamese companies with a total registered investment capital of $302.8 million, followed by Cambodia ($89.2 million), Laos ($47.8 million), and Canada ($32.1 million).

Vingroup has registered four investment projects abroad, making a significant contribution to outbound activities during the period. The conglomerate has projects in France, the Netherlands, and Canada, with the investment capital of each project reaching $32 million. It also has a project in Singapore with an investment capital of $20.5 million. These projects are invested with the goal of importing and exporting telecommunications equipment, electronics, household appliances, and automobiles. In addition, Vingroup also raised investment in the US by $300 million, and by $32 in Germany.

By July 20, Vietnam has 1,423 valid overseas investment projects with a total investment capital of $21.8 billion.

Source: Vietnam Investment Review 

Nestle's new regional accelerator to drive R&D of food tech ideas

Global food giant Nestle has launched a new regional research and development (R&D) accelerator to drive innovation in food technology, as part of its upgraded facilities in Singapore.

The accelerator will be a platform for start-ups, students and the company's employees in the region to develop and test ideas commercially in under six months, providing access to the company's expertise and small to medium-scale production equipment.

It was unveiled alongside Nestle's upgraded R&D facilities yesterday, which include experimental kitchens, open working spaces and its research hub. These capabilities will enable quicker translation of research insights into products, the company said.

The expansion of Nestle's R&D centre is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Speaking at Nestle R&D Centre's 40th anniversary event held virtually yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "I am heartened that MNCs (multinational corporations) like Nestle are committed to supporting innovation among start-ups and educational institutions while developing talent at the same time.

"This is a very good example of a ground-up initiative by the private sector that will have positive spillovers for the larger corporate ecosystem.

Mr Gan highlighted how the company's R&D centre has collaborated with public research institutions, academia and local enterprises over the years, and these partnerships play an important role in Singapore's innovation ecosystem. He also noted Nestle's plans to strengthen its capabilities in plant-based meats and to localise products to capture the growing market in Asia.

This comes on the back of recent investments in Singapore's food tech ecosystem by other industry players such as Swiss flavours and fragrances manufacturer Givaudan and United States-headquartered plant-based alternatives maker Eat Just. Nestle's efforts will further enhance Singapore's position as an innovation leader in alternative proteins, he said.

EDB executive vice-president Cindy Koh said Nestle's accelerator programme will catalyse further partnerships in Singapore's food tech ecosystem, generating positive spillover effects through knowledge and technology transfer which will strengthen the local talent base in the sector.

Nestle, which opened its first manufacturing plant here in 1968, employs over 600 people in Singapore and markets more than 500 different products ranging from ice cream to soya sauce.

Mr Chris Johnson, Nestle chief executive for Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, said: "If you want to be successful in our business, you need a good understanding of the flavours people love, the dishes they want to serve to their families, the food trends they want to try.

"That's why it's so important to have a research and development team in Singapore, here in the heart of South-east Asia, a centre of excellence driving innovation and product development in Asia, for Asia."


Source: Choo Yun Ting / The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Read full article here.

Smart name cards gaining popularity as some businesses go digital

Smart business cards that allow people to save contact details automatically are gaining popularity in Singapore as more companies go digital amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One Good Card, a major firm that makes smart cards, said there have been around four times more orders from the start of the pandemic until now. With a smart business card, details can also be updated on a system, which is linked to an RFID chip in the card. One Good Card said that sales are increasing 15% each month, even with fewer networking events. It also caters to a growing number of firms going green like Scape and the Singapore Management University, and even home and small business owners see the benefit.

Source: Chloe Choo/ Channel News Asia. Watch full video here.

How Are SMEs in Singapore Supported on Their Digital Transformation Journey?

The onset of the pandemic has highlighted the importance for companies to embrace a digital transformation process for their businesses to stay resilient. Digital transformation can be advantageous when it comes to optimising operations, transforming products, and empowering employees.


The UOB SME Outlook 2021 Study revealed that 40 per cent of SMEs that implemented digitalisation initiatives in 2020 reported stronger revenue growth. The survey, which was conducted with 782 local SMEs that have revenue of less than S$100 million, also showed that businesses that have digitalised their entire business, or more than one area of their business outperformed businesses that only digitalised a single area.


However, although 83 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore now have digital transformation strategies in place, 54 per cent experienced delays in implementing their plans due to the pandemic, the 2020 SME Digital Transformation Study by Microsoft Singapore and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) reported. This delay can be attributed to the fact that the main priority for the businesses was to survive the pandemic, amidst rising costs and decreasing revenue.


The study, which involved 400 business owners and key information technology (IT) decision-makers of Singapore SMEs from across 15 industries from March to June 2020, also showed that high implementation cost were the top challenge for these businesses. Other barriers include the lack of a digitally skilled workforce, uncertain economic environments, the lack of appropriate technology partners, and low awareness of government support.


However, despite this low level of awareness, more than 60% of SMEs are keen to leverage the various grants and schemes provided by the government. Therefore, this article will shed light on the existing initiatives to support Singaporean SMEs on their digital transformation journey, both from the Singaporean government and other organisations.


Government Initiative: SMEs Go Digital Programme

In April 2017, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched the SMEs Go Digital programme to help SMEs in their digital transformation journey. Under this programme, various supports are available for SMEs such as the Industry Digital Plans, Pre-Approved Solutions, Start Digital Pack, Grow Digital, Advanced Digital Solutions, and Consultancy Services.


Start Digital Pack

The Start Digital initiative was launched by IMDA together with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) in January 2019. Targeting newly incorporated SMEs and SMEs that are new to digital solutions, these businesses can choose their Start Digital Packs from categories such as accounting, digital collaboration, cybersecurity, human resource management system (HRMS) & payroll, digital marketing, and digital transactions. SMEs can sign up for these Start Digital Packs through bank and telco partners such as DBS, M1, Maybank, OCBC, Singtel, and UOB. More than 30,000 SMEs have adopted these Smart Digital Packs from 2019 to 2020.


Grow Digital

Under the Grow Digital initiative, SMEs who want to tap into overseas markets can participate in Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce platforms. Through this, SMEs can benefit from optimised listings on overseas e-marketplaces and have prompt access to financing offers facilitated via these platforms. Eligible SMEs can receive up to 70% funding support to participate in the platforms under the Grow Digital initiative. Adoption of these platforms does not count toward the PSG funding utilisation which is capped at a maximum of S$30,000 per SME per year.


Advanced Digital Solutions

These solutions aim to address common enterprise-level challenges at scale and further assist enterprises in implementing cutting-edge technologies to transact more seamlessly within or across sectors. However, each solution has its application period, which businesses must take note of. Eligible enterprises may apply to receive up to 80% funding support to cover the qualifying costs of digital solutions, including the cost of deploying these solutions.


Consultancy Services (SME Digital Tech Hub)

The SME Digital Tech Hub was established by IMDA and operated by ASME to provide digital advisory to SMEs in specialised areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity. It also helps to connect SMEs to information and communication technologies (ICT) vendors and consultants in addition to enhancing the digital capabilities of SMEs through workshops and seminars.



InvoiceNow is a nationwide E-invoicing method that enables direct transmission of invoices in a structured digital format from one financial system to another. This will help both SMEs and large enterprises to enjoy a smoother invoicing system with faster payments. InvoiceNow uses the Nationwide E-delivery network which is based on Peppol.


Chief Technology Officer as a Service (CTOaaS)

For SMEs requiring in-depth digital advisory services, the Chief Technology Officer, or CTO as a Service (CTOaaS) is an upcoming initiative that will give SMEs access to CTO-equivalents or digital consultants to assist them. After an initial self-assessment, the SME will be assigned to a digital consultant to help them identify their digital needs, select appropriate digital solutions, and project manage the solution implementation. SMEs can access these professional CTO services at no cost or at an affordable rate.


Developing Talent: The Digital Leaders Programme

For enterprises who are keen to digitally transform their business models or strategies, the Digital Leaders Programme (DLP) will provide support for companies to build in-house digital capabilities. The programme aims to develop local leaders who can compete regionally and globally. Among the benefits for successful DLP applicants include funding support to hire a core digital team consisting of a Chief Technology Officer/Chief Digital Officer or equivalent, as well as a team of up to five digital talents.


Enhancement to the Open Innovation Platform

The Open Innovation Platform is a virtual crowd-sourcing platform to support businesses in getting resources to meet their innovation needs. There are two new features to the platform, which are:

·      Discovery Engine: Facilitates search and matching of technology solutions through automated recommendations.

·      Digital Bench: Provides quick proof-of-concept (POC) testing through a virtual POC platform.



Source: Fintechnews Singapore. Read full article here.

EU-Asean Business Council urges new policymaking, market tools to wean Asean off fossil fuels

South-east Asia should overhaul how it finances green investments and fossil fuel projects, a business group said on Tuesday, while urging a faster "energy transition".

The EU-Asean Business Council (EU-ABC) has called revamping the sustainable finance ecosystem an issue that requires the "most urgent attention" from Asean states.

Proposed measures include rolling out an "energy transition mechanism" (ETM) in individual countries, comprising a carbon reduction facility and a clean energy facility.

Owners of carbon-intensive power assets - usually state-owned power companies - would contribute these assets in exchange for cash or equity or debt in an energy transition mechanism funded by long-term investors such as multilateral banks.

Under such a model, the utility asset owners would use the cash proceeds to invest in renewables, while the carbon-intensive assets are retired on a shorter-than-planned lifetime, as renewable energy capacity and storage improve.

"The EU-ABC, with its members and other key stakeholders, are supportive of the work being led by the Asian Development Bank to explore the feasibility of the ETM in several countries in Asean," said Donald Kanak, chairman of the EU-ABC.

Should such an ETM prove feasible, "it would be a practical way to retire at least 50 per cent of existing carbon-intensive power assets, dramatically scale up demand for renewable energy and provide resources for just transition", the EU-ABC said.

The council added in a statement: "There is a clear need now for Asean to address its over-reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal, for its energy needs."

The EU-ABC also recommended "de-risking green investments", such as through financial instruments like the adoption of insurance for sustainable projects; and encouraging investments through a carbon pricing mechanism, such as a carbon tax or fee, a cap-and-trade system, or an emissions trading scheme.

Other suggestions included phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and tapping the private sector to ramp up electricity networks, especially in rural parts of Asean.

Source: The Business Times (Singapore)

Date: 24 August 2021


Singapore's Innovation & Fintech Fest Returning in Nov 2021 with Green and Regional Focus

 An event in Singapore for tech professionals will explore ways for businesses to tap opportunities in Asia at its next edition in November, with a focus on sustainability and climate change.

The annual Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (Switch) will be held together with the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) in a hybrid format from Nov 8 to Nov 12.

The sixth edition of Switch will be expanded from a week-long conference into a year-long movement that includes monthly opportunities to network and make deals, said Enterprise Singapore (ESG) yesterday.

Switch drew over 15,000 participants from 42 cities last year.

A highlight of Switch 2021 is a new digital platform that will allow participants to convene and access the year-long calendar of activities.

It will kick off with SG Innovation Community Day on Aug 4, followed by monthly seminars on areas such as biotech, education technology and entrepreneurship in the lead-up to the Switch conference.

The theme of the main conference is Global Gateway To Innovation In Asia, and it will spotlight ways that Singapore and its enterprises can help small and large global businesses to ride on opportunities in the region.

"These include sustainability and climate change, which have become a global priority as nations and businesses race to find innovative solutions that can mitigate their environmental impact as they grow," said ESG.

Business and market leaders with a presence in more than 40 cities will discuss trends and expansion opportunities.

There will also be talks by industry leaders as well as Slingshot - a deep tech start-up pitching competition with more than $1.1 million in prizes to be won.

Mr Edwin Chow, ESG's assistant chief executive for innovation and enterprise, said pressing challenges such as the pandemic and climate change have created opportunities for business innovation.

"As Asia becomes the global centre of technological innovation, we believe Singapore can be the partner of choice for global businesses to access these opportunities in the region. Switch 2021 will see new ideas discussed and innovation partnerships formed between corporates, start-ups and universities in the region."

SFF x Switch as a whole will involve entrepreneurs, investors and industry professionals from the innovation and fintech communities, added ESG.

The government agency added that both events will address how the technology and financial sectors can be enablers and change agents for sustainability.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said open innovation provides a platform for small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups to innovate in response to demand, collectively develop new products and expand into overseas markets.

Open innovation challenges allow firms to come up with solutions to address various issues.

He was speaking to reporters over Zoom on the sidelines of a visit to tech start-up Transforma Robotics. The company was among the winners of an energy open innovation challenge organised in September last year by ESG and energy companies Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell.

Transforma works with companies in the oil and energy sectors to trial solutions, such as a smart magnetic painting robot that can apply paint to protect the interior of cylindrical oil tanks from corrosion.

The solution is expected to reduce reliance on manual labour and minimise operators' exposure to hazardous conditions.

The start-up has also seized new opportunities amid the pandemic - for example, by converting some of its spray-painting robots to ones for disinfection.

Professor Chen I-Ming, chairman of Transforma Robotics, said the pandemic has made people realise the importance of robotics and automation in industries like construction.

"Robots are no longer just productivity tools," he added, noting that they help to tackle the shortage of manpower.

"The mindset starts to change and this really drives robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) moving forward."

Source: Enterprise Singapore

Date: 24 July 2021


New climate partnership between Singapore and US, creating business opportunities for ASEAN in green growth sectors

The United States and Singapore have agreed to a partnership to better collaborate on climate action, environmental governance, sustainable development and low-carbon solutions.

The US-Singapore Climate Partnership will "create opportunities for businesses and workers" in green growth sectors, including in energy transitions, clean energy infrastructure development, sustainable transport, sustainable finance and quality carbon credits markets, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (Aug 23).

MTI did not say when the partnership will be launched.

The announcement comes while US Vice President Kamala Harris is in Singapore on a three-day official visit. Climate change is one area in which she is looking to deepen bilateral cooperation, senior US administration officials had earlier said. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity, defence and digital trade are the others.

In February, Singapore unveiled the Green Plan 2030, a "whole of nation movement" to advance sustainable development. One area of focus is growing the green economy to create new jobs, transform industries and use sustainability as a competitive advantage.

MTI on Monday called climate change a "critical global challenge" and a top priority for Singapore and the US, saying that sustainability and economic growth can go "hand in hand".

"Both countries support global efforts to address this key challenge and are fully committed to implementing our commitments under the Paris Agreement and taking bold climate actions," it said.

"By mainstreaming sustainability into the global economy, we can work together towards greater benefits and opportunities for Singapore, the US and the region."

Potential areas of cooperation under the partnership include sustainable finance, energy transitions and quality carbon credit markets.

Sustainable finance includes the use of private capital for sustainable infrastructure and environmental risk management in the financial sector, while energy transitions include sustainable transport.

The partnership could also involve expert consultations on the setting of green standards and the management of environmental financial risks.

"Both countries will continue to explore opportunities to strengthen our collaboration in more areas of climate change and the green economy, in line with our mutual interests," MTI said.

Singapore and the US will also launch two new programmes next year on helping cities become more sustainable through the lowering of emissions.

The programmes will improve knowledge sharing and collaboration between Singapore, US and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members through the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Monday.
"Upscaling green digital solutions will also maximise the benefits of technology from the digital revolution," the ministry said.


Singapore and the US are also working to launch a new Partnership for Growth and Innovation, building on a memorandum of understanding that was renewed in 2018, MFA said.

The partnership will strengthen bilateral and regional collaboration on trade and investment, beginning with the areas of digital economy, energy and environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare.

"This initiative signifies our shared commitment to strengthen growth and innovation in key economic areas," MFA said.

"Both sides also agreed to convene a high-level dialogue on supply chains, which will bring government and industry leaders together to discuss ways to strengthen supply chain resilience."

Both countries agreed to work towards concluding discussions on the partnership later this year, MFA said.

On the response to the pandemic, MFA said Singapore and the US will explore working together to increase regional preparedness and improve Southeast Asia’s collective ability to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 and future health security threats.

This covers areas like epidemic intelligence and sequencing to identify new variants and provide early warning, MFA added.

Source: ChannelNewsAsia (Singapore)

Date: 23 August 2021


AUM for Asean-focused PE, venture capital industry at US$37b, more than doubling in five years

SOUTH-EAST Asia's booming startup environment and its growing need for capital have bolstered its private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) assets in recent years, with many VC funds setting up headquarters in the region to be in the thick of the action.

A Preqin report on alternative assets in South-east Asia, launched on Wednesday, estimated that as at December 2020, assets under management (AUM) for the Asean-focused private equity and venture capital industry stood at US$37 billion, more than doubling in five years. 

In particular, venture capital and growth funds hold 81 per cent of total AUM across all private equity fund types, a development fuelled by an attractive startup environment, growing technology adoption and digital-first business models.

The region's domestic venture capital industry, which commanded US$2.7 billion in AUM in 2010, saw a sixfold increase by 2020 to over US$16 billion in assets managed.

The six largest Asean-focused VC funds in market as at July 2021 are headquartered in Singapore, with their target sizes ranging from US$150-400 million, according to research from Preqin, a data provider focused on the alternative assets industry. The firms behind these funds include Jungle Ventures, Arbor Ventures, Altara Ventures, Openspace Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures and Monk's Hill Ventures.

Aggregate PEVC capital raised by Asean-focused funds over the last decade (2010-Q1 2021) stood at US$13.5 billion for Singapore, the highest among its Asean and global counterparts. Malaysia, which comes in second, saw US$5 billion raised within its borders. Preqin also reported Singapore housing the largest number of fund managers, at 313, over the decade.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on fundraising activity last year, capital-raising momentum is expected to pick up this year as the path out of the pandemic becomes clearer - in fact, fundraising activity as of July 2021 (US$2.1 billion) has already surpassed last year's sluggish turnout (US$1.4 billion).

Exit momentum is also picking up. To be sure, the current roster of South-east Asian venture-backed companies striking it rich with a hotly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) is short. One of the most notable flotations was Singapore-headquartered Internet company SEA Limited's IPO on the Nasdaq in 2017, which raised around US$884 million, making it the region's most valuable startup then, but global attention for listings of regional startups has been limited ever since.

That said, the region's most valuable unicorns are now looking at plans to go public, either via the traditional IPO route or by merging with SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.

Two of Indonesia's largest startups, e-commerce giant Tokopedia and super app platform Gojek, have merged to form GoTo, in the run-up to a dual listing in New York and Jakarta later this year, targeting a post-money value of about US$40 billion. Singapore-headquartered super app Grab is also set to list in New York in a record US$40 billion SPAC deal.

"In a global environment awash with unprecedented levels of liquidity, more options are opening for exit opportunities in the region... Whatever the route to public markets, the pipeline for exits has never been stronger," Preqin said in its report.

Buyout deals, on the other hand, have lagged after hitting a high of almost US$14 billion in 2017, according to Preqin, with aggregate deal value falling to an average of US$3.5 billion over the past three years.

"Unlike venture capital, the large ticket sizes needed to participate in buyout deals and the typically more publicly sensitive nature of targeted sectors, such as infrastructure, energy, and healthcare, create a very complex deal-making ecosystem for only the largest of global private equity funds," the report said.

Source: The Business Times (Singapore)

Date: 18 August 2021


Cambodia's new digital push for MSMEs

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on August 18 launched an open joint effort to build an inclusive digital ecosystem aimed at sparking the development of a robust post-Covid-19 economy.

UNDP acting resident representative in Cambodia Sonali Dayaratne said there are two main objectives to get the ball rolling on this collaborative endeavour.

First is to raise awareness of the benefits associated with e-commerce adoption, and second is to build and improve the capacity of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) on effective and potential digital tactics of doing business.

Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Chea Vandeth said the digital alliance would leverage digital technology to provide a strong footing to drive business continuity, with special emphasis on MSMEs.

“This programme … [brings together] Cambodian business associations, financial institutions and digital businesses to support the capture and continuation of online business activities in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as the drive towards a more secure digital future in Cambodia,” he said.

Dayaratne said: “We now have over 500 SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises] directly engaging in our training programme on digital skills and have engaged over 500,000 SMEs and consumers in our e-commerce awareness campaign on the benefits of digital solutions and digital payment systems.


Author: Thou Vireak

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

For full article, please read here.

Original publication date: 23 August 2021

MSMEs in Agriculture, Digital Technologies Contribute Greatly to Indonesia Economy

JAKARTA, – Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agricultural sector and digital ecosystem have significantly contributed to the economic growth during the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia, a minister said. “During the pandemic, MSMEs in the agricultural sector and those MSMEs that embrace digital technologies have contributed significantly,” Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki said during a virtual discussion organized by Tempo on Wednesday, August 18. “As we know that the agricultural sector has grown above 12 percent this year,” Teten added. The minister said that those MSMEs that make use of the digital platform ecosystem play an important role in economic growth. “The digital transactions especially in the food and beverage sector and home care services support the economic growth,” he said.

The number of MSMEs entering digital platforms had reached 24 percent during the pandemic. This figure is higher compared to a pre-pandemic level where only eight million or about 13 percent of MSMEs embracing digital technologies. “If we look at it, indeed there are MSMEs out there that have the ability to adapt to the current market,” he said. He explained that last year, there were 14,000 MSMEs that exported their products amid the pandemic.

The revenues of MSMEs that produce food items, herbal products, frozen food, and pharmaceutical continue to increase, he said. It was previously reported that the MSMEs have contributed 8,573.9 trillion rupiahs ($597 billion) or 61.07 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP), higher than large businesses which stood at 5,464.7 trillion ($382 billion). Amid waves of layoffs, the MSME sector absorbed 117 million workers or 97 percent of the total workforce in the country. To cope with the Covid-19 challenges, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises encouraged Indonesian MSMEs to embrace the digital ecosystem by promoting their products via e-commerce platforms. 




Author: Dezy Rosalia Piri

Editor: Dezy Rosalia Piri

Original published date: 18 August, 2021


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ASEAN Aims to Secure 23 Percent Renewable Energy by 2025

ASEAN aims to achieve its 23 percent renewable energy target by 2025 in a bid to meet the bloc’s power demand sustainably. This target is in line with the issuance of the 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO6) which shows the regional bloc’s interest in understanding current energy trends and landscape as well as support the development of sustainable energy. Executive Director of ASEAN Centre for Energy Nuki Agya Utama said that the AEO6 contains energy perspectives by 2040 and its pathways for the bloc to be more resilient to enable energy affordability and sustainability. “The 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook provides us with an overview of the current energy landscape with some possible scenarios for policymakers and stakeholders,” Nugi told a virtual press conference on Thursday, August 19.

AEO6 reflected the ASEAN countries’ desire to learn the current landscape and explore different opportunities and possibilities. The Outlook also examined how the bloc can meet its growing economy and population’s energy needs until 2040, including different ways forward and their implications for energy security, socio-economic development, and the environment. The project was implemented through a collaboration between ASEAN Centre for Energy collaborates with Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Development Cooperation Counsellor of the German Embassy-ASEAN Oliver Hoppe said that the AEO6 is special as it complements the outcome-based strategies of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025 Phase II: 2021-2025. This was introduced in the 38th ASEAN Minister’s on Energy Meeting in November 2020.

The findings can also contribute to concrete action plans for various ASEAN Specialized Energy Bodies (SEBs) and Sub-Sector Networks (SSNs) in their respective Program Areas under APAEC. “This highly relevant publication is the result of an outstanding joint research and development effort by various well-respected energy experts in the region,” said Oliver. Seven key strategies to enhance energy security and sustainability in ASEAN comprise:

1.     ASEAN will enhance its efforts towards building an ASEAN Power Grid (APG) to expand regional multilateral electricity trading, strengthen grid resilience, modernization and promote clean as well as renewable energy integration.

2.     In the gas sector, ASEAN will pursue the development of a common gas market for ASEAN by enhancing gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) connectivity and accessibility.

3.     In the acceleration of energy transition and sustainability, ASEAN will optimize the role of Clean Coal Technology (CCT) in facilitating the transition towards sustainable and lower emission development.

4.     On energy efficiency and conservation (EE & C), ASEAN aims to reduce energy intensity by 32 percent in 2025 based on 2005 levels and encourage further energy efficiency and conservation efforts, especially in transport and industry sectors.

5.     On Renewable Energy (RE), ASEAN will aim to achieve the aspirational target for increasing the component of renewable energy to 23 percent by 2025 in the ASEAN energy mix, including through increasing the share of RE in installed power capacity to 35 percent by 2025.

6.     Under the Regional Energy Policy and Planning (REPP), ASEAN will advance energy policy and planning to accelerate the region’s energy transition and resilience.

7.     In the civilian nuclear energy sector, ASEAN aims to build human resource capabilities on nuclear science and technology for power generation.




Author: Dezy Rosalia Piri

Editor: Dezy Rosalia Piri

Original published date: 20 August, 2021


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