Asia Society | Women Leaders of New Asia

Annie Koh on “Taking Myanmar to Work” at the recent WEF – East Asia

Annie Koh-WEFFormer WLNA delegate Annie Koh participated in a panel discussion titled Taking Myanmar to Work at the recently concluded World Economic Forum on East Asia in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. In a panel comprised of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; Hiroto Arakawa, Vice-President Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Subramanian Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services, India and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on East Asia; and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, Chairman and CEO, Ayala Corporation, Philippines, the discussion focused on the steps that are needed in order to match the demand for skilled workforce and to foster innovation, as Myanmar opens up to new business and investment opportunities.Anne stressed that there must be a collaboration of both private companies (represented by those in the panel), as well as government agencies like JICA, and academic institutions like the one she represents. She stated that one of the best examples in closing the gap between education, skills, and jobs is to have the “private sector co-invest in curriculum design and transformation of universities to enhance the learning experience of students. Government also needs to come in with funding to shape the direction that education should take—be it for vocational schools or university education.”

Furthermore, Annie also emphasized that she was honored to be sharing the panel with Daw Aung Sung Suu Kyi as she is very passionate about her people and committed to her country’s future. According to Annie, Aung Sung Suu Kyi is appealing to companies and governments not to enter into Myanmar simply from the angle of extracting the natural resources or to develop properties or to increase profit. Priority will be given to companies who enter into Myanmar with a long-term goal of transferring skills sets and equipping the local talent to be able to have good jobs and build local competencies to run the companies eventually.

“Everyone came away from the discussion convinced that helping Myanmar transform also implies helping the Burmese people to attain life-long learning and sustainable work skills. We were all excited to be part of the transformation journey for Myanmar and the vision for change begins with the youth of today” she says.

To view the panel discussion, please click here:

Annie played a major role in bridging the academia and the business industry in Singapore? She spearheaded many major partnerships between SMU and the business world. Annie is the Vice President for Business Development and External Relations at the Singapore Management University (SMU). She also holds the position of Academic Director of the Financial Training Institute, Center for Professional Studies, International Trading Center and Business Families Institute at SMU. She sits on several advisory boards, governing councils and steering committees, as well as financial and government sectors.

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