The National Business Conference 2023 recently convened with the theme ‘Beyond Recovery: Building a Sustainable Digital Future’, gathering over 300 participants from senior government and business figures as well as overseas experts.
The conference aimed to explore how the public and private sectors can collaborate to advance a sustainable digital economy and work towards achieving Wawasan 2035.
In his opening keynote address, Minister at The Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah noted that the non-oil and gas sector has reached a high of BND 9.8 billion in 2021 and is projected to continue to grow steadily into the foreseeable future.
He further said that the development of the Downstream Oil and Gas sector has proven instrumental in driving this growth, indicating that the country’s diversification efforts come to fruition.
On her part, Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council Brunei, Hafimi Abdul Haadi, who is also the Executive Director of LVK Group of Companies, in her remarks expressed appreciation for the significant interest in the National Business Conference which seeks to bring all stakeholders in the country’s economic future.
“As a country that is connected to the global economy and plugged into the trading architecture, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, it is imperative for the Brunei business community to understand global trends and challenges and how they impact our businesses,” she said.
She added: “In a recent ABAC – USC Marshall School of Business developed a report, one of the conclusions arising is that driving economic growth requires business leaders and policy makers to take economic inclusion seriously – pursuing economic growth with only half the team playing is a losing strategy.”
In addition, Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Brunei Haslina Taib, who is also the CEO of Dynamik Technologies, said that it is time to transform our young and educated people into a digital workforce, positioning Brunei as a digital economy hub as well as our energy, green and halal industries towards ASEAN Net Zero for a better planet.
“It is time to expand on our partnerships and collaborations locally and regionally. Especially in the Borneo economic corridor, we have the potential to develop and support small, and medium enterprises island-wide to participate more actively in Digital Trade, which in turn builds our shared prosperity,” said the ceo.
The conference also heard from Secretary-General of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Eduardo Pedrosa highlighting how global challenges are impacting the region such as inflation, supply chain issues, and currency fluctuation.
Meanwhile, in a panel discussion, Deputy Minister (Economy) at Ministry of Finance and Economy Dato Seri Paduka Haji Khairuddin Haji Abdul Hamid, shared that the economy is seeing greater diversification and encouraged the business community to embrace digitalisation.
In an address on Brunei as a Smart Nation, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Pengiran Dato Shamhary Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha said that Brunei is placed in the top 10 for the fastest mobile network speeds on a global basis with a median download speed of 102.06 Mbps on mobile networks.
“However, a well-connected nation is not in itself sufficient for Brunei Darussalam to achieve and become a smart nation. Being a smart nation means using technology to create a better future for people and society. It involves using data, digital services, and advanced associated technologies to improve the quality of life for citizens including, but not limited to healthcare, education and other public services,” he said.
Furthermore, the session also saw the participation of a young coder from the UK, Femi Owolade-Coombes sharing his coding journey and how he works with stakeholders to get young people interested in coding.
He encouraged the young people in the room to think not just about doing things in Brunei but think globally.
The business conference was an opportunity for the participants to gain significant insight into the business environment for the year ahead that will help them plan and prepare as well as network with the speakers and fellow participants.
The National Business Conference 2023 is part of the Brunei Economy Programme, an initiative by the ASEAN and APEC Business Advisory Councils of Brunei in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy and in partnership with Baiduri Bank and leading organisations to connect global issues with the Brunei economy.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN