UK Tech and Digital Economy Minister Damian Collins (Official portrait)

UK Tech Minister Arrives in Bali for G20 Digital Economy Forum

SEPTEMBER 01, 2022

Jakarta. UK Tech and Digital Economy Minister Damian Collins arrived in Bali on Wednesday to attend a special G20 meeting on the key digital and technology challenges and opportunities facing nations and their citizens around the world. 

The two-day meeting, which starts on Thursday, comes at a defining time for the G20 as the world tackles a number of major challenges from Covid-19 recovery to the War in Ukraine, with digital economy issues at the heart of both. 

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"Technology is changing lives around the world. The G20 Digital Ministerial is an important event for governments to work together on the challenges and opportunities we face now and in the future,” Collins said in a statement.

“Like Indonesia, the UK is working hard to make sure people and businesses have the skills and support they need to benefit from thriving digital economies. I look forward to discussing our bilateral commitment to digital growth and seeing for myself how UK funding is improving internet connections, training tech talent, and supporting innovation across the country."

During his visit, Collins will meet with Indonesian Communication and IT Minister Johnny Gerard Plate and Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Sukawati.     

According to the UK Embassy in Jakarta, the UK government has funded initiatives in Indonesia like the Digital Access Program which has helped more than 50,000 women, disabled people and residents in rural areas get online and improve their digital skills.

Indonesia and the UK have been working together on a shared digital agenda since 2018, running hundreds of events and reaching thousands of beneficiaries on some of the biggest challenges to reaching Indonesia’s full digital economy potential, including expanding digital literacy and access; increasing inclusion from people with disabilities, women and young people; and making the most of opportunities like telehealth.

“Indonesia is a thriving middle-income country focused on having a digital, high tech economy, with a thriving future. Tech and digital are areas of strength for the UK, so it makes sense we and our friends Indonesia are working together to achieve Indonesia’s vision of being a leading tech power,” British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins said.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing and largest digital economy and the powerhouse of an ASEAN digital economy which is projected to hit $1 trillion by 2030.

The World Economic Forum reported in May 2022 that there are 202 million internet users in Indonesia, contributing $70 billion to Indonesia's digital economy in 2021, with $146 billion projected in 2025. 

The UK, which has the third biggest tech sector in the world, behind only the US and China, is an important partner for Indonesia.

Collins will see the work of the UK’s Digital Access Program firsthand by visiting a bilateral event with Indonesia focused on the British Council’s Skills for Inclusive Digital Participation (SIDP) project, which provides inclusive digital literacy training at a basic and intermediate level to women, youth, and people with disability in Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, and South Sulawesi. 

The project has increased digital literacy, thus enabling people to access jobs and services and to improve their livelihoods by removing a big obstacle to economic and social participation, according to the UK Embassy. 

On connectivity, Collins will see how UK aid funding is being used by the Common Room Networks Foundation on its School of Community Networks initiative. This capacity-building project aims to develop community-based internet infrastructure and promote digital skills development across Indonesia, particularly for marginalized communities. The project is worth Rp 4.2 billion and builds on a successful pilot in indigenous community Kasepuhan Ciptagelar, West Java. 

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