The Minister for Asia visits South East Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
A generation of “technopreneurs” is set to be created in Indonesia in a joint UK-Indonesia project launched by the UK’s Asia Minister Alok Sharma MP, as part of the expanding trade relations between the two countries.
The innovative scheme will be launched by the minister during a visit this week to Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
The project will fund training to encourage young scientists and engineers to drive innovation, and is part of a wider package of measures to increase joint work on science and technology.
The scheme reflects the importance the UK places on its relationship with the South East Asian region.
Indonesia is a partner country for the Newton Fund – the UK’s £375m official development assistance fund that aims to promote research and innovation cooperation.
Mr Sharma will finalise the collaboration agreement between the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, which will provide fully funded intensive training for Indonesian “technopreneurs”, as well as innovation grants for joint projects on technology improvements worth £800,000.
Almost 3,000 Indonesians already study in the UK, and the Minister will meet a number of graduates whose studies were funded by the UK’s Chevening Scholarship scheme.
He will meet Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister Fachir to discuss potential trade opportunities and UK expertise as Indonesia prepares to host the 2018 Asian Games. The Ministers will also discuss a range of foreign policy issues from our cooperation on countering violent extremism to Indonesia’s welcome role in the Middle East Peace Process.
Mr Sharma will visit Singapore during the country’s International Cyber Week and will highlight UK expertise in a meeting with the Singaporean Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Dr Janil Puthucheary, alongside UK technology companies.
He will meet other UK businesses in Singapore as well as major Singaporean investors in the UK to hear their perspectives and future plans. Mr Sharma will make clear that the UK wants the strongest possible trade and investment links. He will also meet Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo for talks on a range of foreign policy and trade issues.
Mr Sharma will then travel to Bangkok where he will represent the UK at a meeting of European and South East Asian ministers.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Alok Sharma said:
“South East Asia is a key region for the UK. We are natural partners, with the regional powerhouse economies, and in addition to trade, already work closely on areas from peace and security to science and technology. This exciting project to bring on a new generation of technopreneurs will drive forward areas where we can work together.
As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we have a unique opportunity to become a global leader in free trade and to intensify our trading relationships with this dynamic region. UK trade with Singapore contributed £3.7bn to the UK economy last year alone – the highest in Asia-Pacific – and our bilateral trade in goods with Indonesia increased by nearly 5% to £1.62bn.”