Summit to discuss future of ASEAN

Azlan Othman

The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN-BIS) is set to be be held on Friday in Hanoi, Vietnam, which will see discussions revolving around the future of the region.

The annual forum will bring together presidents and prime ministers as well as business and thought leaders.

The distress and shock caused by the coronavirus caused to the people and economies of ASEAN have been deeply felt. The pandemic shattered the global economy, paralysed production and pushed business to the brink, with many into bankruptcy.

It caused people to stop, rethink business models and social contracts and reconsider the future of work. The business sector with its dynamism, creativity, innovation and passion will be a key driver in identifying measures and steps to bounce back and ensure resilience
in economies.

This year’s theme ‘Digital ASEAN: Sustainable and Inclusive’ will discuss the importance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in stimulating growth, trade and investment against the backdrop of the shock of the coronavirus and the many challenges facing the region.

The summit’s programme will cover four sub-themes – ASEAN Economic Outlook; the Future of ESG Investing in Asia; Technology and the Future of Work in ASEAN; Sustainable AGRI Development and Inclusive Growth.

The summit will see the participation of ASEAN leaders as well the presidents and prime ministers of ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners such as China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States (US) to name a few.

The summit will begin with a keynote address by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a panel discussion on ASEAN’s Economic Outlook. There will also be panel discussions on the future of Environment, social and governance (ESG) investing in ASEAN.

There has been a dramatic increase in global investments in ESG.

In recent years, investors particularly focussed on mitigating the impact of climate change, but with the global pandemic threatening to devastate small business, there is likely to be a new focus on social investments.

To achieve the goals, investors will want to see improved transparency and reduced bureaucracy from ASEAN governments, and higher governance and ethical standards from companies in the region.

The advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), financial technology (fintech) and block-chain, opens a realm of new possibilities to grow the ASEAN economies post-pandemic while protecting the environment, rebuilding livelihoods and ensuring the best standards of integrity and inclusiveness.

There will also be a panel discussion on technology and the future of work in ASEAN and panel discussion on sustainable agri development and inclusive growth.