ASEAN’s chance for inclusive growth

ASEAN’s chance for inclusive growth

11/05/17

Samantha Deave, Corporate Services Manager

At yesterday’s World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Cambodia, AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes emphasised the need for ASEAN to become more inclusive in order to see better economic growth in the region.

This same message has been repeated in the majority of my conversations with delegates at the Forum, both from the region and outside: ASEAN must not make the same mistakes that certain nations in the West are now suffering from. The rise of the term ‘liberal elite’ in the UK, the EU, and the US, signifies the lack of inclusivity of economic wealth, with only the top percentage of people fully seeing the benefits of globalisation. Many see this as one of the major factors leading to political shocks in the last year.

As it stands, ASEAN still has a long way to go in order to call itself a symbol of equitable economic growth. In particular, there are significant disparities between the ASEAN 6 and the CMLV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam) countries.

As ASEAN carves out a road for itself in the international landscape, the region, unlike the West, has the time to tackle economic policies now that can promote sustainable and inclusive growth and avoid the potentially catastrophic consequences of inequality on the region.