The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, especially in developing countries. Measures enacted by governments to contain the pandemic propelled businesses towards digitalization and the provision of online operations and services. At the same time, demand for digital services exponentially grew.
Recognizing this, several countries in the Asia-Pacific region have developed national digital economy strategies and policies, and the role that foreign direct investment (FDI) can have in building digital economies needs greater attention. For instance, FDI can contribute to developing robust digital infrastructure and improving access to digital education and training systems.
There are three particular areas in which FDI has immense potential to contribute to digital development and transformation, namely in:
- promoting digital businesses,
- encouraging digital adoption, and
- building digital infrastructure.
With this in mind, the United Nations Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum will focus on bringing together investment promotion agencies (IPAs) and investors as well as other stakeholders to discuss what actions and measures can be undertaken to promote and facilitate FDI in these three areas, investment opportunities in Asia and the Pacific in each area, and the requirements and expectations of investors.
In addition to this, given the speed at which artificial intelligence (AI) is changing our world, a key theme of the forum will be on the role of AI in investment promotion. Investment promotion agencies that are currently using AI in their investment promotion activities will share their experiences with using AI for investment promotion, and highlight some of the benefits and challenges that this new technology has brought.
The Forum is being co-organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. This is the second iteration of Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum, and both have been a key deliverable of ESCAP’s project “Building the capacity of Asia-Pacific countries to utilize science, technology and innovation policies to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals” funded by the Government of China.
Date and Venue
The Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum will be held 9th of September 2023, at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center in Xiamen, China. The Forum will take part as a special thematic forum during the China International Fair for Investment & Trade from 8-11 September, 2023.
 For example, see Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint
 The Inaugural Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum was held in June 2019 in the Islamic Republic of Iran. More information can on the event can be found here: https://www.unescap.org/events/asia-pacific-innovation-forum-2019-technology-start-ups-sustainable-development
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