After experiencing two years of weak growth due to COVID outbreaks, ASEAN has been on a strong recovery path in 2022. Consumption and investment levels are recovering while open borders are driving higher tourist inflows. The recovery, which is being driven by pent-up demand and strong domestic fundamentals, will continue in 2023, making the region a global bright spot.
While ASEAN will continue to provide growth opportunities, global headwinds will slow the pace of recovery. Aggressive rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, Europe’s energy situation, and strict lockdowns in China will weigh on all aspects of growth in ASEAN. The region will deal with constrained supply of essential commodities, shipping delays, surging inflation, currency depreciation, rising interest rates, and weak export demand. It is also expected that economic activity in most ASEAN markets will recover well above pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. However, ASEAN currencies will remain much weaker over the next 12 months compared to early
2022 levels with global supply shortages due to the Ukraine war will lead to elevated inflation levels in 2023.
This year under the chairmanship of Indonesia and with the theme of ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth, the region aims to build the institutional capacity and effectiveness of ASEAN to ensure faster growth, inclusivity, and economic sustainability. How can Indonesia take the lead in transitioning from G20 vison to ASEAN’s action?
Why ASEAN Economic Integration & ASEAN’s Centrality Matters? What are the opportunities and challenges? How would ASEAN deal with the regional and national pressure points?
Connectivity in ASEAN encompasses the physical (e.g.,transport, ICT, and energy), institutional (e.g., trade, investment, and services liberalisation), andpeople-to-people linkages(e.g.,education, culture, and tourism) that are the fo unda tio n al supportive means to achieving the economic, political-security, and socio-cultural pillars of an integrated ASEAN Community. Since the adoption of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2010 (MPAC 2010), notable progress has been made. Given the dynamic environment in which ASEAN Connectivity takes place, it is crucial to consider the emerging trends that will influence the ASEAN Connectivity 2025 agenda. What are the emerging trends and the implications these will have on ASEAN? What are the shortfalls? How would ASEAN be able to achieve the objectives of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) by 2025? What would be the alternatives?
The global food security challenge is straight forward: by 2050, the world must feed 9 billion people. The demand for food will be 60% greater than it is today. The United Nations has set ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture as the second of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030. ASEAN already facing food security challenges due to rapid urbanisation and the growth of consuming classes, Covid-19 will likely exacerbate the region’s food security challenges in the short term. To achieve these objectives requires addressing a host ofissues, from gender parity and ageing demographics to skills development and global warming. Agriculture sectors must become more productive by adopting efficient business models and forging public-private partnerships. And they need to become sustainable by addressing greenhouse gas emissions,water use and waste. The risks: malnutrition, hunger and even conflict. How can ASEAN resolve all these issues and what must be in place to mitigate food shortages and related issues.
ASEAN isthe fastest growing Internet market in the world. With 125,000 new users coming onto the Internet every day, the ASEAN digital economy is projected to grow significantly, adding an estimated $1 trillion to regional GDP over the next ten years. But many significant roadblocks stand in the way of realizing this potential. ASEAN has laid out important policy measures and frameworks, including the AEC Blueprint 2025, Masterplan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and the eASEAN Framework Agreement, to address these roadblocks. However, these ambitious goals will demand detailed research, visionary policymaking, and substantial buy-in from regional stakeholders. This session 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. It will also discuss the strategies for addressing the digital divide in ASEAN.
The world is currently going through differentstages ofrecovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the effects of climate change continue to be felt, seemingly stronger than before. A landmark report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in August 2021 raises the alarm bell on the urgent need for the world to curb its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avert irreversible climate disaster. The energy sector contributes three quarters of the global carbon emissions and therefore, plays a prominent role in the climate solution. Although ASEAN’s current energy demand is only around 5% globally, it is steadily rising because of urbanisation and industrialisation. The region’s share of electricity in final energy consumption is below the global average of 18%, but this is expected to grow rapidly to 26% in 2040, which would be equivalent to the global average then. As such, ASEAN’s energy sector, along with the rest of the world, needs to move towards a net zero pathway. What are the gaps and challenges for ASEAN’s energy sector towards a low carbon pathway. What are the recommendations forASEAN to move towards a low carbon energy sector. Where are the new opportunities?