Digital lifestyles, cashless societies, app-based businesses, “smart” nations, virtual services – there is a tremendous amount of excitement in Southeast Asia now about the growth of the digital economy.
The region is a hotspot for digital development, and it already leads the world in some indicators, such as Internet and social media use.
East Asia and Pacific
Malaysia wants the digital economy to play a central role in the next chapter of the country’s development—that much is clear. However, what may be less clear is why taxation should be part of the policy mix that will help deliver the country’s digital economy ambitions. This is important because taxes raise the cost of doing business rather than reducing it.
I get stirred up by all types of governance data, so in honor of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, I though I’d highlight a few efforts to measure access to information. Information on access to information, if you will.
As you can see in our new report, What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050,
Poorly managed waste is contaminating the world’s oceans, clogging drains and causing flooding, transmitting diseases, increasing respiratory problems from burning, harming animals that consume waste unknowingly, and affecting economic development such as through tourism.
Without urgent action, these issues will only get worse. Here’s what everyone should know.
Despite considerable progress in traffic enforcement and medical care, the road crash mortality rate in Thailand remains rather high and has been increasing since 2009. More than 24,000 people lose their lives on the road every year, and traffic injuries are a major public health burden for the country. The human toll and individual loss caused by this epidemic are clearly exposed by the media, and many organizations are actively advocating solutions for this important public concern.
Over the years, Malaysia has demonstrated great improvements in enhancing upward social mobility as the country continues to advance toward becoming a developed nation. However, this success has not been evenly distributed among the population. A 2016 Khazanah Research Institute study found that 24% of children born to low-skilled parents in Malaysia remained low-skilled as adults. Likewise, 46% of children born to parents in the bottom 40% of the national income distribution remained in the bottom 40%.
The purpose of any education system is to equip learners with the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life. Currently, East Asia is home to seven of the top ten education systems in the world. Despite impressive achievements, these above-average performing systems are not resting on their accomplishments—they continue to deepen the quality of education, tying learning to new and emerging needs. Central to the region’s curriculum reform is a focus on teaching and measuring 21st century skills.
Challenges with decentralization
Seventeen years ago, Indonesia embarked on its so-called big bang decentralization. Almost overnight, responsibility to deliver many public services was transferred to local governments. This was done, in part, with the hope that the decentralization would make local government more agile and responsive to issues facing local communities. However, results have yet to materialize in many locations.
In my view, a key factor driving poor results is the central government’s approach to regulating local governments. In a decentralized environment, the central government has a legitimate role as a regulator to standardize service delivery or financial management procedures. However, in practice, they have been more focused on controlling inputs and processes, with little attention to accountability for results. This approach results in the proliferation of regulatory constraints and a fearful bureaucracy that make it difficult for local leaders to respond to citizen’s problems.