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Singapore's Emerging Stronger Taskforce forming new coalition to focus on medtech

THE Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST) is forming a new industry-led coalition that will focus on medtech to explore opportunities around in-vitro diagnostics for disease preparedness, containment, and control.

This will be the eighth coalition, dubbed Singapore Together Alliances for Action (AfAs). The first seven AfAs, focusing on supply chain digitalisation, sustainability, digitalising built environment, smart commerce, robotics, safe and innovative visitor experiences, as well as edutech, were convened by the EST in June to act on key growth opportunities for Singapore.

Over the past four months, the AfAs have collectively involved and engaged more than 330 industry stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations and chambers, and government agencies.

The latest AfA builds on Singapore's early successes in rapid testing, rapid contact tracing, and isolation in the fight against Covid-19, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a statement.

The EST is also looking at the possibility of forming an AfA or deep-diving into how the Republic can form win-win partnerships with South-east Asian partners, so that collectively, the region can emerge stronger.

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The EST has been guided by two themes that must underpin Singapore's future economy:

- A Singapore that is connected: Singapore is a small economy and the city-state's success has been premised on its strong connection to the rest of the world. The aspiration is to be a smart nation that is connected to the world, creating and accessing new markets virtually, to create more opportunities for Singaporeans and businesses.

- A Singapore that is sustainable: Growth must be achieved in a manner that is sustainable for the environment, economy, and people. This means being inclusive, by empowering and enriching all stakeholders in Singapore, and developing local talent and capabilities, while remaining open to foreign talent and partners who can add value.

"We must continue to deepen our adaptive capacity as we respond to the major shifts in the global economy, many of which have been accelerated by Covid-19. We must strive to emerge stronger from this crisis and develop an even more connected and resilient economy, so that we can create good jobs and opportunities for our people," said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat.

Mr Heng, who is also finance minister and chairman of the Future Economy Council (FEC), added: "The AfAs is a new approach to bring interested parties together to collaborate on new growth opportunities. The emphasis is on taking quick action to prototype solutions and to concurrently explore ways to scale viable solutions across our economy and beyond.

"In keeping with the spirit of Singapore Together, these efforts are led by industry leaders, working in close partnerships. We will continue to grow the momentum of our AfAs in the next phase of our Industry Transformation Maps."

The EST said this "new and agile approach to public-private collaboration" has allowed them to align their goals, experiment and change course quickly, all while acting together.

"The EST believes that in a more competitive world, this collaborative Singapore Together spirit of our government, businesses, and workers will be Singapore's hallmark and competitive advantage. We are keen to institutionalise this approach as a lasting legacy of the EST," said EST co-chair Desmond Lee, who is also minister for national development and minister-in-charge of social services integration.

Group chief executive officer of PSA International and co-chair of the EST, Tan Chong Meng, said: "Although the seven AfAs cover different sectors, a common theme running through them is the use of digital technologies to strengthen our companies and sectors, enhance our competitiveness and expand Singapore's markets and reach ... Our ambition is to be Virtually Unlimited Singapore, and to achieve that with inclusivity, and with leadership in sustainability."

Separately, six new members have been appointed to the EST. The taskforce also noted that it has engaged more than 250 participants through three Emerging Stronger Conversations for the Economy and other engagements. Various knowledge partners such as BCG Digital Ventures, McKinsey, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, and ThinkPlace have also offered insights.

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