Christina Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, on Tuesday (27/02) reminded countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, that they must prepare their labor force for the coming digital revolution. (Reuters Photo//Beawiharta)

Asean Countries Must Prepare for Digital Revolution: IMF

BY : ADINDA NORMALA

FEBRUARY 27, 2018

Jakarta. Christina Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, on Tuesday (27/02) reminded countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, that they must prepare their labor force for the coming digital revolution.

Based on a study by global consultant McKinsey last year, 60 percent of all occupations can be automated up to 30 percent. The study predicts half of today’s work activities will be automated by 2055, or even by 2035, depending on technical, economic and social factors.

"We all need to think about the future of work. Managing this transition will be a major part of the answer to creating opportunities for all people," Lagarde said.

Lagarde said the digital revolution has begun to change workplaces and economic structures in the region, as well as in the world, and so countries need to adapt to those changes, which will rely on technological innovations, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology and financial technology.

The best possible ways are by improving digital infrastructures and by making education systems relevent to the digital era, said Lagarde, the former French minister of economic affairs.

She added that Indonesia has one of the world’s largest clusters of new firms, which actually reflects a ready infrastructure to accommodate the change. Data from StartupRanking last year showed that Indonesia ranked third with 1,559 startups, behind the United States and India.

Lagarde praised local startup Go-Jek, which has transformed from a ride-hailing app into a platform for mobile payments and many other services, including as a service for the delivery of food, cleaners and even masseuses.

According to Reuters, Go-Jek is said to be valued at about $5 billion, which makes it among the four top companies that are worth at least $1 billion without tapping into stock markets. In financial jargon, Go-Jek is considered a "unicorn."

"We need to ensure that this new economy is not just a boost to productivity and growth, but also a foundation for a world that works for young and old, rich and poor, urban and remote villages," Lagarde said.

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