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Opening Remarks by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at The 8th Ministerial Forum on ICT

18 June 2012 - Opening Remarks by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at The 8th Ministerial Forum on ICT at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Opening Remarks by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at The 8th Ministerial Forum on ICT on Monday, 18 June 2012, 2 pm at Begonia Room, Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

ICT for Greater Growth

Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Afternoon.

1. Welcome to the Ministerial Forum on ICT 2012. It is a pleasure for Singapore to host the Forum for the eighth year. Since 2005, ICT Ministers have convened annually in Singapore ahead of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange, or imbX, to discuss key ICT issues affecting our economies and societies.

2. This year, we are happy to partner the World Economic Forum, or WEF, for the very first time in facilitating the Forum's discussions. Last September, I had the privilege of meeting with Mr Alan Marcus when I attended the WEF meeting in China. Alan shared with me the WEF vision of establishing global discussion platforms for a community of IT leaders and policymakers to engage in visionary thinking beyond organisational constraints. I believe this Forum will enable us to uphold the WEF vision; for everyone to engage in a frank exchange of perspectives and ideas on how ICT policies can foster and enhance economic growth and development.

Recap of 2011 Ministerial Forum

3. At the seventh Ministerial Forum last year, we discussed how governments worldwide had become increasingly "tech-savvy" in reaching out to the public and encouraging participation in policy-making through online citizenry. We agreed then that policymakers had to acknowledge the need for change and to be in tune with evolving social and communication trends.

Theme for Ministerial Forum on ICT 2012

4. ICT has evolved rapidly and we are living in an increasingly "hyper-connected" society today. Amidst current economic uncertainties, the ability to identify innovative yet practical solutions that leverage ICT advancements will be key to socio-economic growth in today's "hyper-connected" world. Thus, we have chosen "ICT for Greater Growth" as the theme for this year's Forum.

5. To effectively maximise the opportunities from "hyper-connectivity", governments are adopting ICT through careful public policy planning to create investment opportunities and for manpower development. However, with emerging opportunities come emerging challenges and even threats. According to the white paper on "Cyber-security, Innovation and the Internet Economy1" published by the United States Department of Commerce last June, security experts saw almost 67,000 new malware threats on the Internet every day in the first half of 2011. This means that every minute, more than 45 new viruses, worms, spyware and other threats are created, double the number in January 2009.

6. Increased connectivity has brought about a slew of issues for policymakers, businesses and consumers to consider. Some issues include whether we have simultaneously opened ourselves up to more sophisticated and complicated risks than before, the resilience of existing infrastructure to manage these risks; and how we should navigate an environment of connected communities. While technologies spin off new opportunities to improve our daily lives, there is growing concern over risks and challenges such as loss of control over personal data. These are the multi-faceted aspects of the broader "ICT for Greater Growth" issue which has brought us here today.

Brief Introduction of Speakers and Program

7. Sharing their insights on our theme this year are two distinguished speakers - Ambassador David A. Gross, former United States Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy; and Dr Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of eLab, INSEAD. They will provide their perspectives and analyses on how best to unlock the full potential of ICT as a facilitator and driver of socio-economic growth, while managing the risks and challenges that come with such development. We are also pleased to have Mr Robert Chew, a respected infocomm strategist and veteran of the Singapore ICT industry, to serve as moderator for today's proceedings.


8. I look forward to the enriching discussions and wish everyone a fruitful time at the imbX events and a memorable stay in Singapore. Thank you.

Note to Editor