Let me start by congratulating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and His Excellency Abdullah Amer Al-Swaha, for convening the G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting, especially during these extraordinary times.
2. As many speakers have acknowledged, digital technologies have become a vital part of our pandemic management strategy and also our response to the pandemic. Digitalisation is also key to a more resilient post-COVID-19 economy and society. Yet, digitalisation presents both risk and opportunity. The Ministerial Declaration recognises this fundamental challenge, and the key role of inter-governmental efforts, such as the G20. Singapore welcomes this Declaration. Let me share my thoughts on three key areas that illustrate how we, as Governments, can maximise opportunities as we manage the attendant risks that go with digitalisation.
G20 Digital Economy Ministers Declaration
3. First, on Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). As countries increasingly adopt AI in real-world applications and the technology continues to evolve, new risks emerge in tandem. Governments therefore need to continuously review our regulatory regimes to facilitate AI deployment in a transparent, fair and explainable manner for the benefit of our people. Singapore believes in a balanced, pragmatic and collaborative AI governance approach as we develop our AI initiatives. In addition, there should be greater synergy between the G20’s work on AI and other important discussions on AI ethics and governance at the UN, OECD and GPAI. As we engage in these multilateral discussions, let us work together towards a trusted, human-centric and sustainable global AI ecosystem.
4. Second, on data free flow with trust and cross-border data flows. Data is the foundation of the digital economy. The need to accord data due protection, especially in safeguarding confidentiality and privacy of personal information, becomes even more pertinent. With increased cross-border data flow, we need greater international cooperation to enhance the interoperability between different data protection frameworks, approaches and transfer mechanisms. In our region, the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance has been one practical way to work towards greater coherence of data policies and stronger data protection regimes in ASEAN.
5. Thirdly, as emphasised in the Declaration, trust and security underpin a strong and vibrant digital economy. To this end, we must take steps to enhance the security and resilience of our digital infrastructure. Governments play a key role in supporting businesses, especially our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in developing cybersecurity management strategies to manage enterprise risks. In Singapore, our SMEs Go Digital Programme, offers a range of cybersecurity solutions from a curated list of industry providers so that MSMEs can better protect their systems. The Security-by-Design Framework also provides a guide for organisations to incorporate cybersecurity upfront into their systems and networks.
6. If I may conclude, the G20 DETF has driven inclusive growth and development of the global digital economy. This work has become even more important as countries continue to respond to and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. Singapore is privileged to have contributed to the G20 discussions under the able leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And we look forward to working with G20 members and the wider international community to build an inclusive and sustainable digital future for all.
8. Thank you Mr. Chairman.