ADB touts digital reforms in improving operations

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ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao during the Digital Development Forum 2018 at ADB headquarters. --

Amid the shift to adapt to the fourth industrial revolution, Asian Development Bank (ADB), said it will also be making use of digital technologies in its operations and programs to spur further growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao during the Digital Development Forum 2018 on Tuesday, Sept. 4, said that ADB aims to enable countries to make use of digital technologies especially in the fields of ICT infrastructure, human resources, policies and regulations.

“ICT infrastructure is the foundation of digital economies. Without reliable internet connectivity, any digital services including smart phone apps cannot be used,” he added.

Likewise, this would have to be supported by policies set by the government to promote data sharing amid strengthening its cybersecurity to protect users against fraud and illegal activites.

However, Mr. Nakao noted that human resources would likewise have to be improved as well to adapt to the changing business processes.

Citing an ADB study on the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Mr. Nakao said new technology can create new, value-added jobs while phasing out old ones.

“In addition, economic growth driven by new technologies will result in the creation of more jobs, offsetting job losses. People should be prepared for these new jobs,” he said.

He added that ADB increased its financial support for technical and vocational education and training programs to increase employment rate by improving ICT skills.

Last March, ADB also created the Digital Technology for Development Unit to facilitate digital reforms.

Mr. Nakao said that they are replacing their mainframe — which they first acquired in the 1980s — with a cloud-based system, automating business processes and strengthening data governance.

ADB is also in the process of “enhancing remote IT access so that staff in headquarters and field offices can work from any place and anytime”, while improving its cybersecurity, Mr. Nakao added.

“These digital reforms will strengthen ADB’s operations, financial services, administration, and knowledge services in line with ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030.”

Prior to this, the ADB has approved around 450 information and communication technology-related projects since 2010, banking on the sector contributing to further development. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato