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ASEAN-UK Business Forum


Digital ASEAN: Enabling a New Normal

The UK-ASEAN Business Council and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council are delighted to present the inaugural ASEAN-UK Business Forum 2020. The Forum aims to explore how digital solutions can enable Southeast Asia to thrive in a new normal.

The Asian Development Bank has forecasted that ASEAN will see a strong economic recovery in 2021 of 5.5% GDP growth. The pandemic has caused economic turmoil, but it has also accelerated digital transformation by governments and business in a region that was already the fastest-growing internet market in the world. Southeast Asia has over 400 million internet users offering a vibrant digital landscape that is changing the way people consume, work and live.

In a contactless world, with interaction mainly of the virtual kind, being able to operate digitally is essential. Investment in Southeast Asia’s digital economy, from high-speed broadband to skills development, will bring long term inclusive benefits and a more resilient economic recovery. Improved internet infrastructure will provide better access to education, health and financial services across Southeast Asia.

Fintech is offering a range of financial solutions to operate in the new normal. As the world looks to bounce back it has an increasingly important role in ensuring recovery is green, sustainable and inclusive. With three-quarters of the region’s population still facing insufficient access to financial services, the demand for FinTech solutions has never been higher.

The Forum will also hear how the UK is supporting ASEAN by looking at intra-regional and extra-regional supply chains, supplemented with some detailed analysis in the consumer electronics, automotive, apparel and medical technology sectors by developing a digital scenario modelling tool to support collective decision-making.

This Forum is free to attend. This Forum is proudly sponsored by:


Areas of Discussion

  • What are the digital solutions to enable government and business to thrive in a new normal?
  • What is the role of Fintech in a sustainable economic recovery?
  • What will the new normal in Southeast Asia look like in 2021?


09.00 Welcome remarks by

  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair – UKABC
  • The Hon. Ar Yanty Rahman, Co-Chair ASEAN Business Advisory Council
09.10 Session One

ASEAN & the United Kingdom: A Partnership for the Future

Keynote Address by Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam

Followed by a conversation with:

  • Dr Aladdin Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN
  • The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade

Chaired by Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Chair, UKABC

10.00 Session Two

Digital ASEAN: Enabling a New Normal

Opening remarks by Natalie Black CBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner – Asia Pacific

Panel discussion with UK and ASEAN senior figures on digital solutions to get the regional economy back on track.

How do we make sure business has the right skills to go through digital transformation? What is the role of Artificial Intelligence and cutting-edge technologies? How can companies of all sizes benefit from technology?

  • Natalie Black CBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner – Asia Pacific
  • Dr. Michael Natusch, Global Head of Artificial Intelligence, Prudential Plc
  • Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, Pearson and UKABC Board Director
  • Haslina Taib, CEO, Dynamik Technologies and Brunei ASEAN BAC Member

Chaired by Gerard Grech, CEO, Tech Nation

11.00 ASEAN Accelerated Covid-19 Economic Support Programme – Policy Solutions to Impacted Global Value Chains

A presentation on how the UK is supporting ASEAN’s decision-making process on changes to critical Global Value Chains in the region. The impact of which will help stimulate economic recovery from Covid-19 and support inclusive job creation.

By H.E. Jon Lambe, UK Ambassador to ASEAN

11.10 Session Three

Digital ASEAN: FinTech’s Role in the Recovery

Opening remarks by The Rt Hon. William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London

Panel session with UK and ASEAN FinTechs on the role of finance and technology in the region, and a discussion on how FinTech will support and shape a sustainable economic recovery.

  • Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • Nick Wilde, Managing Director APAC, Thought Machine
  • Matt Mills, Chief Commercial Officer, Feature Space
  • Tran Phuong Chi, Director of Strategy, VnPay

Chaired by Dr Matthew Cavanagh, Director, Group Government Relations, Prudential Plc and UKABC Board Director


Further Reading

Coronavirus recovery: Southeast Asia faces long, hard road back from pandemic. South China Morning Post

ADB Urges Southeast Asian Countries to Close Digital Divide, Promote Equitable Growth Amid COVID-19. Asian Development Bank

Green Finance Strategies for Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery in Southeast Asia: Greening Recoveries for Planet and People. Asian Development Bank

Read More

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