WEF on ASEAN 2017 in Cambodia Kicks Off Officially

AKP , May 11, 2017 –Hundreds of participants from 40 countries gathered here this afternoon for the official opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2017 at Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel and Residence.

The event took place in the presence of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, his counterparts from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith; and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and President of the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Addressing to the opening ceremony, Samdech Techo Hun Sen expressed his warm welcome to all the participants. “Cambodia is extremely honoured to be a host of this World Economic Forum on ASEAN, under the theme: ‘Youth, Technology and Growth: Securing ASEAN’s Digital and Demographic Dividends’. On behalf of the Royal Government (RGC) and People of Cambodia, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to Your Excellencies, Heads of States/Governments, Ministers and Delegates, and all the Distinguished Guests who have come to this ancient land of ASEAN,” he underlined.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference here this morning, some of co-chair of the even highlighted that jobs, technology and multilateralism hold the key to ASEAN’s Future.

Mr. Jamaludin Ibrahim, Managing Director, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata Group Berhad, said ASEAN member countries must stop favouring domestic companies in the interest of region-wide development and integration, and called for region-wide removal of roaming charges.

“Forty percent of our population is millennials – their demographic behaviour is adaptable,” he said, adding that policy-makers in each country must reconsider regulation of spectrum, industry structure, incentives, funding, human capital formation and so on. “We can leapfrog if we get national agenda to accelerate change,” he said.

For his part, Mr. John Rice, Vice-chairman of GE, said that ASEAN, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has made a success out of a model where borders are points of connection and not barriers to trade, although more work is needed in levelling the playing field for the free flow of capital, including human capital, as well as finance. He pointed out that as the region enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it must also prepare its young population for the future.

“Every job is going to change. ASEAN must train people to be ready to be flexible, adaptable, and ready for lifelong learning, ready to change as the nature of work and jobs change,” he said.

By Khan Sophirom