Wiring up the region


ASEAN yesterday took a step towards bridging the digital divide by signing an agreement that will kick start information technology in the region.

The 10 leaders put their signatures both on paper – and digitally with the use of a smart card and a notebook computer – to endorse Singapore’s plan of plugging Asean’s 500 million population into the global economy.

The e-Asean initiative will wire up the region in several fields.

* Main provider is Asean e-Tourism Portal: eASEANtravel.com.
* Travel information from all Asean countries will be made available to the world via this website

* Several key providers including ASEANWorld.com, EastASEANbiz.net, SESAMI.COM and WeASEAN.com.
* Aim to conduct business online and act as a data bank for investment opportunities. Could also include buying, selling and auctioning of goods.

* Mainly through Brunei’s Real Estate in Cyberspace.
* Aims to provide on-line house selling and buying.
* People can post property details at fraction of cost of using housing agent.

* Key provider is KWX: Knowledge Worker Exchange.
* Register job seekers on line and match them with career opportunities.
* Also provides career guidance.

* Main provider is e-Entrepreneurship Training Programme.
* Aims to train businessmen in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
* Also has training programme to develop Java-based applications throughout universities in Asean.

* Through the ASEAN Educators Online and ASEAN SchoolNet.
* Connecting schools in region by developing hardware, software and and technical support.
* Training teachers in information technology.

* ASEAN Information Network is the lead provider.
* Will allow people to access 40 million titles available at national libraries in Asean, web-based and multimedia resources.

* Done through LifeASEAN, a multilingual online regional magazine on society and culture.
* With feature essays and commentaries in all Asean languages on cultural aspects.
* Award-winning Indonesian poet, for example, will be able to reach audiences in other Asean countries with translations of his work.

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