Mekong Economies Urged to Tap Innovative Solutions to Enhance Connectivity

Disruptive technologies, such as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, can bring about rapid, self-sustained economic growth for countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, said Narongchai Akrasanee, Thailand’s former minister of energy and commerce. He delivered the keynote address at the annual Mekong Forum last 3 August at Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Innovative technologies have the potential to enhance connectivity and competitiveness in the subregion, said Akrasanee. He cited that energy infrastructure in particular could benefit from smart technology by improving its structures and processes.

Hosted by the Mekong Institute, an intergovernmental organization working in human resource development, the Mekong Forum offers a platform for discussing pressing development issues in the subregion. More than 200 participants from the government, development agencies, the academe, business, and civic society attended this year’s forum.

The theme of Mekong Forum 2018 focuses on how “innovation, hand in hand with cooperation and collaboration, can drive competitiveness and foster increased connectivity among people and communities, and in turn, drive forward a faster growth momentum and development for us in the region,” said Watcharas Leelawath, executive director of the institute.

In the meantime, Zhang Guohua, Vice-Governor of Yunnan Province in the People’s Republic of China, noted that improving the capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship is one of the critical areas for cooperation in the subregion. He also said there is a need for better coordination to improve connectivity.  

“Connectivity would be always a priority area of cooperation. We should continue to strengthen coordination and cooperation. All the governments should pay more attention to improve the institutional environment to enable acceleration of regional comprehensive transport infrastructure development,” he said.

Read the full article from the Mekong Institute.