Jakarta (ANTARA News) - APEC economic leaders encouraged the Asia-Pacific business community to invest in infrastructure that will increase digital access, a fundamental driver of inclusive economic growth, noted the APEC Secretariat`s written statement issued and received here, Saturday.

"All APEC members today are expanding their digital access. We look to the private sector to capitalize on this and make investments that lead to more innovations," Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O`Neill, the chair and host of APEC Summit 2018, stated.

Prime Minister O`Neill addressed local and visiting members of the business community in Port Moresby on Friday (Nov 16), kicking off a two-day summit that brings together the region`s leaders and the private sector ahead of the annual meeting of APEC Economic Leaders.

The meeting will prioritize trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Papua New Guinea`s theme for APEC in 2018 focuses on capitalizing on new technologies to give more vulnerable sectors greater access to participating in the economy.

"While free trade is vital, this alone will not deliver the sustained and the wider economic development that we aspire to. Policies must be aimed at improving productivity, raising low- and middle-income levels, so that we are able to ensure a better standard of living for our people," Prime Minister O`Neill noted.

APEC includes developing economies as well as some of the world`s most advanced. While the region`s GDP has more than tripled over the last decades, the forum has, in recent years, increasingly focused on ensuring that the benefits of this growth are enjoyed by all people. Digital technology is seen as a way to make economic growth more inclusive.

Prime Minister O`Neill also highlighted the need to encourage investment to deliver efficient, reliable, and more affordable internet access.

"In Papua New Guinea, our government is leading the way in encouraging investment infrastructure that will facilitate digital access, especially by small to medium enterprises and our business community," he remarked.

"There should be no space for a digital divide, on whatever grounds that divide may be generated, whether it is gender, ethnic grouping, education, or where the person lives," he added.

Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
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