Press Release

Innovation locally can bring about regional economic growth

14/05/2018

As part of APECs drive for inclusivity, the Second Senior Official’s Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings began with the 2018 APEC Study Centre’s consortium conference under the theme “Inclusive growth opportunities in an increasingly connected region.”

As part of APEC's drive for inclusivity, the Second Senior Official’s Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings began with the 2018 APEC Study Centre’s consortium conference under the theme “Inclusive growth opportunities in an increasingly connected region.”

Chairman Dr Osbourne Sanida simplified this by saying it is about how more and more people can be engaged in the production of goods and services for economic growth. “When talking about connectivity we must note that Papua New Guinea as with any other APEC economy is not an island.

“We are all connected and as we talk about IT or ICT there is inclusive connectivity in that it associates with different aspects as well so in the context of today’s session, the key point to note are the important role that innovation and technology plays in us achieving inclusive economic growth,” Dr Sanida said.

Dr Jeffery Noro from the Papua New Guinea Department of Science and Technology alluded similar points during in his presentation on Development of Domestic Innovation Systems as Drivers for Economic Growth. “Innovation has been a key driver for a lot of growth of the GDP of the economy but unfortunately in PNG for the last 40 years since independence, we have actually very limited policy on direction for investment into research and development of innovation as part of a national policy direction to promote growth,” Dr Noho stressed. With APEC discussions on the digital future, Dr Noho says these discussions will reap a lot of benefit and technological developments, while the ability of a human workforce. “The intention is to learn from other economies who bring these ideas into PNG’s social cultural context because Papua New Guinea’s challenges are very different and for us to think about innovation is not just in terms of science but also social innovation, how do we rethink the way to do things in this country,” Dr Noho added. Karina Kudaeva from the Russian APEC Study Centre spoke on key technology infrastructure constraints and strategies as APEC economies gear up for the digital revolution. However, she says that without a strong ICT foundation, digital innovation may be harder to reach.

Her research on information technology has found that Papua New Guinea is the most expensive of all APEC economies, with the lowest number of usage per head per population and also that the use of digital technology by government bodies and agencies is also at the lowest level of all APEC economies.

“When we talk about Papua New Guinea, we have to understand that being an island economy, one of the reasons for a higher cost is because of the borrowed network from neighbouring economies, and also in terms of cost, you need to have more people interested in the internet, the digital literacy rate has to be raised,” Ms Kudaeva said.

She adds that with a good digital infrastructure in place, huge progress can be made in Papua New Guinea.

The 2018 APEC Study Centres Consortium Conference ends tomorrow.