Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Papers on Digital Connectivity Pathways: Exploring the Issues, Constraints, and Collaborative Prospects for Asia and the Pacific


Asian Development Bank Institute; Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

Rapid digital development and diffusion is increasingly reshaping economies, societies, and cultures. Yet despite government and intergovernmental-backed improvements in digital connectivity in Asia and the Pacific in recent decades using fixed, mobile, and satellite technologies, significant digital divides among and within the region’s countries persist. Understanding digitalization constraints and drivers will be critical to promoting equitable growth within the sector and sustainable development.

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies are seeking original theoretical, empirical, and experimental papers that examine digital connectivity pathways in Asia and the Pacific, particularly developing countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia. The focus is on digital divides across and within countries and prospects for international collaboration aimed at expanding digital connectivity and digital trade.

Selected papers will be featured in a pair of conferences in 2023 and considered for publication in an ADBI book. Paper topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital capacities of countries, including their current state of digital infrastructure
  • Socioeconomic, regulatory, political, and other constraints to digital capacity building
  • Good practices for expanding digital connectivity and digital trade, such as trade facilitation and enabling policies
  • Efforts to link digital connectivity with regional and global policy initiatives, such as the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the work of the Group of 7, Group of 20, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and other international forums

Case studies and review articles are welcome. All papers should highlight policy challenges and policy recommendations.

Submission Procedure

Authors should submit extended abstracts of up to 1,000 words via this link by 15 February 2023. There are no submission fees.

All abstracts must contain only original or review work which has not been published nor is currently under review by any other journal, conference, or outlet, including working paper series.

Only authors of selected abstracts will be notified.

Arrangements for Selected Papers

Selected papers will be featured in a by-invitation conference to be held virtually in mid-June 2023, for which authors must submit their drafts by 15 May. After the first revisions, an in-person conference open to the public will be held on 1 August 2023 in Singapore or India. Revised manuscripts are to be submitted on 1 September.

ADBI will provide travel support to one author per paper. The author must be a citizen of an Asian Development Bank member economy.

One author per selected paper will be provided a modest honorarium on condition that they are a citizen of an Asian Development Bank member economy. 

The August conference will be held virtually in the event of COVID-19 travel disruptions.

Selected papers will also be considered for inclusion in an ADBI book by a committee.


Inquiries may be directed to ADBI’s Yixin Yao and Dil Rahut, the Institute of South Asian Studies’ Amitendu Palit, and the International School of Business and Media’s Subhasis Bera.