Southeast Asia big data use to generate over $100 billion in health, jobs, social protection

By Asian Development Bank

Southeast Asia big data use to generate over $100 billion in health, jobs, social protection

Big data holds immense potential in fast-tracking post-COVID-19 economic recovery in Southeast Asia, with benefits in public health, social welfare and protection, and education valued at over $100 billion, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report launched.

The report, Harnessing the Potential of Big Data in Post-Pandemic Southeast Asia, finds that public institutions have embraced big data because of its analytical power to turn voluminous datasets into actionable insights that can help them respond swiftly to crises, improve their services, and enhance resilience to future shocks.

“The pace of digitalization clearly accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the importance of big data for the effective and efficient delivery of key public services such as health care, social welfare and protection, and education,” said ADB Director General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam during a webinar organized by ADB. “It is crucial for policymakers across the subregion to help pave the way for big data adoption—from strategic governance to building a data-driven culture.”

According to the report, big data can improve the delivery of government services and speed up post-COVID-19 recovery. It estimates that remote monitoring systems can bring $9.4 billion in annual cost savings to the health care system in Southeast Asia by 2030 through fewer hospital visits, shorter hospital stays, and medical procedures, while the use of analytics to direct highly targeted health interventions for at-risk populations can lead to an estimated $15.5 billion increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) across the region by 2030.

The report finds also that the use of digital technologies to provide personalized and remote learning and job matching can contribute an estimated $77.1 billion annually to the GDP of Southeast Asian countries by 2030.

Digital technologies are transforming the global economy. The report estimates that in Southeast Asia alone, the size of the internet economy could triple to $300 billion by 2025, compared to 2019. But the report cautions that unlocking the potential of big data in public service delivery will require governments to lay the strategic and technical groundwork to maximize the opportunities of big data and mitigate its risks, including protection for data privacy, fraud, and cybersecurity.