Minister Josephine Teo at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers' Meeting, Bengaluru, India
Minister for Communications and Information, Mrs. Josephine Teo, was on an official trip in Bengaluru, India from 17 – 19 August 2023, where she represented Singapore at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meeting (DEMM) on 19 August. Singapore was invited to participate in the meeting by India, which holds the 2023 G20 Presidency. Minister Teo also attended the Digital Innovation Alliance (DIA) Summit on 18 August at the sidelines of the DEMM, where three Singapore start-ups won awards in a pitching competition against global companies.
At the DEMM, Singapore, together with the G20 Ministers and other invited Ministers, committed to navigating the prevailing geopolitical tensions by issuing an ‘Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary’ that outlines the commitment of the G20 in the areas of “Digital Public Infrastructure”; “Building a Safe, Secure and Resilient Digital Economy”; and “Digital Skilling”. Minister Teo made the following key points to share Singapore’s experiences:
a. On Digital Public Infrastructure: A forward-looking, trusted and coordinated Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) does not only grow domestic digital economies but also spurs regional and global innovation and growth. Singapore’s holistic approach to DPI, as outlined in its Digital Connectivity Blueprint, seeks to further seize opportunities in newly emerging trends such as AI, immersive virtual experiences, and autonomous systems. This will provide better opportunities, build trust, and develop a dynamic ecosystem for individuals and businesses, contributing to economic progress and improved public service delivery.
b. On Security in the Digital Economy: There is common recognition that a trusted online space is foundational to a thriving digital future. In addition to education, Singapore seeks to safeguard its citizens through regulatory and legislative measures, such as the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, the Online Criminal Harms Act, and an ongoing review of the Cybersecurity Act to address evolving cyber threats. Singapore is looking to move the Bill on the review of the Cybersecurity Act by the end of 2023.
c. On Digital Skilling: Singapore strives to ensure that the benefits of technology extend to all segments of society:
i. For individuals: Efforts are made to ensure everyone can confidently and safely engage in the digital world. These include targeted schemes to subsidise devices and Internet connectivity for vulnerable groups. Singapore also promotes digital inclusion through partnerships like the Digital for Life Movement that focuses on lifelong learning for citizens of all ages.
ii. For industries: Collaboration with industry partners on initiatives like TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) help reskill and upskill the tech workforce in emerging areas like AI and cybersecurity, to support our people’s livelihoods and the economy.
iii. For businesses: Initiatives like the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Go Digital program aid SMEs in their digitalization journey, offering both foundational solutions and advanced digital tools to enhance capabilities and competitiveness.
Please see the full transcripts of Minister Teo’s interventions on the three priority areas above here.
Celebrating Singapore Start-Ups
The DIA Summit aims to recognise and support innovators with digital solutions for world economies. Minister Teo engaged with Singapore start-ups and venture capitalists based in Bengaluru involved in the event. Six of these start-ups were selected for a pitching competition for a chance to receive mentoring sessions and connect with investors. Three of these companies came out tops in their respective categories:
a. Winner of “Circular Economy”: Awarded to EnvironSens. The start-up designs, manufactures, and provides real-time water quality monitoring sensors and cost-effective water treatment solutions for even the most pollutive industrial and commercial sectors. The company has been working closely with PUB over the last 10 years in Singapore and has also worked with other water agencies in India, the Philippines and Vietnam.
b. Best Woman Founder in “Secured Digital Infrastructure”: Awarded to Ms Tan Jing Yi, the Chief Operating Officer of Accredify. Accredify is a verifiable technology solutions provider that has won multiple awards. Accredify can automate and simplify the verification process through its proprietary software. Ms Tan is a founding member of Accredify, who has worn multiple hats in the company, including client on-boarding and managing key client accounts.
c. Best Woman Founder in “EdTech”: Awarded to Shreya Verma, the Director of Marketing and Partnerships at CognaLearn. CognaLearn is the creator of InteDashboard, an all-in-one learning platform with functions such as helping educators to digitize and streamline quizzes with immediate feedback and conduct peer evaluations. Ms Shreya’s role includes leading the company’s marketing efforts and orchestrating B2B strategies.
Progressing Bilateral Relations
Minister Teo also met with her counterparts from other countries including India, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America on the sidelines of the G20 meetings. At these bilateral meetings, Minister Teo reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to digital cooperation with her counterparts and discussed new areas of collaboration including in data and AI governance, digital trade, cybersecurity, and combatting scams.