Asia and Pacific

6th Asian Regional Round-table - Agenda and main messages


26-27 July 2018
ADB Headquarters, Manila, Philippines


  • The rise of digital technologies creates a renewed interest in the relationship between technology and the labour market. New technologies could increase productivity and wages of skilled workers. However, they could also displace less-skilled workers in routine-based tasks.
  • Digital technologies, alongside breakthroughs in robotics, 3D printing, and biotechnology, are likely to have dramatic implications for business models and the nature of work. While they will be key drivers of future prosperity, they also pose challenges for workers and societies. Policy actions on skills development, labour regulation, social protection, and income distribution are required.
  • A 3rd wave of global unbundling, associated with economic digitalisation, is bringing new opportunities as well as challenges to Asia. Under the 3rd unbundling, face-to-face connectivity is more convenient, with lower costs and higher quality. The division of labour is going to be person-wise; a task will be unbundled into persons possibly located in different countries.
  • Financial technology could help improve financial inclusion, particularly in rural areas where access to conventional banking facilities are limited. However, some challenges would need to be addressed, including improving financial literacy and developing adequate IT infrastructure and providing enabling regulatory environment.
  • Cities can offer higher incomes and access to services to residents. Rapid urbanisation is however also creating challenges, including traffic congestion and environmental hazards. Policy options addressing the design of cities and transport systems, pollution emissions, and institutional arrangements for co-operation across levels of government will need to be considered.


Opening Remarks:

Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist and Director General, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank

Session 1: Technology and the Labour Market: A Singapore Case Study and Lessons for the ASEAN Region

Chair: Maria Socorro Gochoco-Bautista, AMRO Advisory Panel Member and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Sterling Chair Professor of Monetary Economics at the University of the Philippines School of Economics

Keynote presentation: Justin Lim, Researcher, ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO)


  • Kensuke Tanaka, Head of Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre
  • Elisabetta Gentile, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, ADB

Open discussion

Session 2: Digital Economy and the 3rd Unbundling of Globalisation: The New Growth Engine for Emerging Asia

Chair: Lurong Chen, Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

Keynote presentation: Fukunari Kimura, Chief Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University, “‘Unbundlings’ and Development Strategies in Asia”


  • Denis Hew, Director, Policy Support Unit (PSU), APEC Secretariat, Singapore
  • Ramon L. Clarete, Professor, School of Economics, University of the Philippines, the Philippines

Open discussion

Session 3: Technological Change and the Future of Work

Chair: Joseph E. Zveglich, Jr., Director, Macroeconomics Research Division, ADB

Keynote presentation:

Rana Hasan, Director, Development Economics and Indicators Division, ADB


  • Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines
  • Jose Ramon Albert, Senior Research Fellow, Philippine Institute for Development Studies

Open discussion

Session 4: Financial Technology and Financial Inclusion in Asia

Chair: Wawan Juswanto, Senior Economist, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

Keynote Presentation: Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean and CEO, ADBI, “Development of financial technology and financial education for widening financial inclusion”


  • Megumi Sagara, Senior Economist, Credit Risk Database (CRD), Big data analysis of SME and its credit rating
  • Fujio Nakatsuka, Financial Technology Institute of Japan, Development of Fin-Tech regulations Open discussion


Session 5: Smart Cities and Urbanisation in Emerging Asia

Chair: Kensuke Tanaka, Head of Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre

Keynote Presentation: Policy challenges for promoting smart cities in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand - 3 case studies

  • Siti Maimunah, Head of Technology Development and Research Supporting Intermodal Transport Research Center, Indonesian Ministry of Transportation
  • Dahlia Rosly, Advisor, Council of Advisors, Malaysian Institute of Planners
  • Termsap Taelakul, Spatial Development Expert, Spatial Development Planning and Strategy Office, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) Thailand


  • Shom Teoh, Programme Manager, Sustainable Cities Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  • Lurong Chen, Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)

Open discussion

Closing remarks: Izuru Kobayashi, COO and Director General, ERIA




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