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Technology aiding elderly people could improve Asia and Pacific economies —ADB

Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new report on Wednesday revealed that adopting technology policies that improve the health, skills and labor of elderly people could be beneficial for Asia and Pacific region’s economies.

Titled “The Asian Economic Integration Report 2019/2020 (AEIR): Demographic Change, Productivity, and the Role of Technology,” the report presented the role of technology in boosting the productivity of aging economies.

“The aging trend is irreversible in much of Asia and the Pacific, but governments could turn that into a ‘silver dividend’,” ADB chief economist  Yasuyuki Sawada said.

“Today’s elderly are better educated and healthier than in the past. The right policies on technologies could extend working lives, generating a substantial contribution to the overall economy,” he added.

The average healthy life span increased by nearly seven years from 57.2 to 63.8 years between 1990 and 2017 for the economies in Asia and the Pacific, while the average years of education among 55 to 64-year-old people also increased from 4.6 in 1990 to 7.8 in 2015.

Countries that are fast aging with above-median education levels would benefit from adopting automation and labor augmenting technology to supplement the low supply of labor for routine work.

To help a younger population access high-quality education, countries with slow aging and below-median education levels could prioritize technical applications in education, the report said.

Education and skills training should also include lifelong learning as well as the adoption of technologies and approaches to make work and workplaces more suitable for older employees.

Older people would be encouraged to continue working if the labor market, social security, and tax system are reformed, the report suggested.

The policies easing the movement of capital, labor, and technology globally would be useful to help countries at different stages of demographic transition and technological adoption to cope with their respective challenges, ADB said. —LDF, GMA News