Minister for Communications and Information Mrs. Josephine Teo represented Singapore at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from 31 August – 3 September 2022. Singapore was invited to participate in the meeting by Indonesia, which holds the 2022 G20 Presidency. Minister also attended the launch of the Digital Innovation Network (DIN), organised by the Indonesian Presidency, which brings together start-ups, venture capital firms (VCs) and governments in showcasing digital innovations with the intent to develop a G20 database of digital entrepreneurs. Several Singaporean start-ups and VCs participated in the DIN as part of the Singapore delegation.
At the G20 Digital Ministers’ Meeting, the Ministers demonstrated a shared commitment in navigating the post-pandemic recovery through digital transformation. Minister Teo made the following key points:
On Connectivity and Post-COVID 19 recovery
Going digital had helped many of our SMEs deal with disruptions in supply chains and manpower shortages during the pandemic, and the challenge now is to keep up this momentum of digital transformation, amidst many other pressing demands.
To harness digitalisation as a catalyst for growth,
a) Made consistent investments in our digital infrastructure ahead of time
, to build a robust and resilient communications network to support business and innovation. We are on track for nationwide 5G standalone outdoor coverage by 2025 or earlier and will be the first country in the world to extend public 5G standalone coverage to sea to drive innovation and real-time data exchanges in our maritime domain;
b) Provided support to our SMEs and developed a core set of digital utilities
that companies can use, such as e-invoicing and e-payments, so that they can plug into the digital ecosystem from the get-go;
c) Facilitated the building of an open and inclusive network of international partnerships
to create opportunities for our businesses, including by pioneering Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) to facilitate digital trade with our partners.
On Data Governance and Cross-Border Data Flow
Data is a resource that powers the global digital economy, especially when data flows across the borders. It drives efficiency and supports innovation. At the same time, we need to ensure that we have robust data governance standards to mitigate the risks and potential harms to our citizens and our society. Every country will have to find our own unique balance between these competing objectives, depending on our respective systems of governance and societal values. But even as we differ in our data protection or privacy regimes, it is important that we work towards enhancing interoperability between our systems, and to build an inclusive network and to avoid fragmentation between different regions and across the world.
Singapore has been taking steps together with partners around the world, to help move discussions from principles to pragmatic action:
a) Developed and championed practical mechanisms
such as the ASEAN Data Management Framework (DMF) and ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses (MCCs), as well as the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system, that allow for interoperability of systems and the safe and secure transfer of data;
Launched the National Digital Trust Centre, a national effort to focus on key areas of trust technologies. We are also exploring the potential of Privacy Enhancing Technologies, or PETs, to find ways in which businesses can extract value from data, without exposing sensitive personal data. For instance, we have just launched a PET sandbox, and hope that our learnings from this sandbox will contribute to the development of a more trusted and more innovative data ecosystem.
Minister Teo also met with her counterparts from other countries including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands and South Africa 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 government, cybersecurity, and combatting phishing and spoofing scams.