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Laos highlights need for digital transformation

A senior Lao leader has highlighted the need to accelerate digital transformation in line with sustainable development, while attending the ITU Digital World 2021 conference from October 12-14.
A ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the first ITU Telecom meeting, the forerunner of this year’s largely virtual conference and exhibition.

Co-hosted by Vietnam and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), ITU Digital World 2021 welcomed high level participants from the public and private sectors and across the ICT industry.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Technology and Communications Prof. Dr Boviengkham Vongdara highlighted three main issues relating to pricing and infrastructure; local content; and digital skills and people awareness.
“On pricing and infrastructure, our ministry has worked with operators and service providers to encourage them to provide Internet promotion pricing during this Covid-19 period and also encourage network expansion where it is necessary,” he said.
“In terms of localisation, our ministry has been promoting the use of local language and the creation of digital content. The development of a Lao font and Lao keyboard for computers and mobile devices has made local content possible.”
“For digital skills and people awareness, under the new normal we can see that more and more people are aware of digital transformation. For people in the provinces and rural areas, we have local authorities and district offices to help ensure connectivity at the very last mile of telecommunications. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the digital divide gap still remains with fast changing technology.”
Prof. Dr Boviengkham also addressed the topic: “Cutting the cost: can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?”
The minister explained that cutting costs was just part of the solution. The key factors in accelerating digital transformation are related to (1) collaboration, (2) ensuring ecosystem and infrastructure readiness, and (3) capacity building in digital literacy.
In Vietnam, the government seeks to stimulate trade, build skills, and strengthen its economy through digital transformation and has pledged to harness innovation to improve people’s living standards substantially by 2030.
Officials said access to and use of relevant Internet services is critical to digital transformation. Ensuring universal access is fast becoming an issue of affordability and capacity rather than infrastructure or technology.
According to ITU data, over 90 percent of the world’s urban population and over 70 percent of the rural population were covered by 4G, satellite or other technologies in 2020, but only 51 percent of the global population is using the Internet.
Barriers to Internet adoption include affordability, digital skills, public awareness, and the existence of relevant content in local languages.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update October 14, 2021)

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