Honourable Heads of State and Ministers,
Secretary-General of the ITU, H.E. Houlin Zhao,

It is my honour to be here to participate in the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. On behalf of the Singapore delegation, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our host country, the United Arab Emirates, for their warm hospitality and excellent organisation of this Conference. I would also like to congratulate the Chairman on his election to this important position in the Conference.

Rise of the Digital Economy

Four years on from the last Plenipotentiary Conference, the Digital Economy has now taken centre stage around the world. We have heard this from many countries who have spoken before me.

With the Digital Economy at our doorstep, it is important that we are equipped with the right developmental efforts in order to embrace the changes before us.  It is with this in mind that Singapore recently launched the Digital Economy Framework for Action in May this year.  The Framework serves as a guide to help our businesses, communities and workforce to prepare for and seize the opportunity of the digital economy.  Of particular significance to the work of ITU are in the areas of Physical and Digital Infrastructure development, and the enabling Policy, Regulations and Standards of the Framework.

Physical and Digital Infrastructure

Investments in physical infrastructure are critical in enabling the development of a digital infrastructure, which would in turn, provide key digital platforms such as e-Payments, AI-as-a-service, data sharing and super-computing.

Policy, Regulations and Standards

Enabling Policy, Regulations and Standards are equally important for a Digital Economy to thrive. The regulatory sandbox approach which has helped to facilitate 5G trials in Singapore is a case in point. IMDA has waived frequency fees in selected frequency spectrum bands for 5G trials. This is to lower regulatory barriers and encourage experimenting real-world applications of the technology.

A Globally Connected Digital Economy

Besides domestic infrastructure and policies, there must also be strong international collaboration among countries in order to fully harvest the benefits of the Digital Economy. International platforms like the ITU are an important conduit where international collaborations are forged.

Singapore is heartened that the ITU recognises the importance of international cooperation to support the development of the Digital Economy, and has thus included as one of the goals in the 2020 – 2023 Strategic Plan, the need to enable and foster access to an increased use of telecommunications/ICT in support of the Digital Economy and Society.  This clearly demonstrates the importance of the Digital Economy and the ITU’s continued relevance to the Member States.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a fruitful Plenipotentiary Conference and look forward to working with all of you to build a new Digital Economy chapter for our sector.

Thank you.