The Global Business Forum Series (GBF) was launched in 2013 as a platform to drive trade and explore opportunities between the Gulf Region and some of the world’s fastest-growing markets. In 2021, the Global Business Forum turns to Asia and the Association of southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to explore the changing dynamics of the region, examining opportunities to increase business and investment between both regions, and push the boundaries of inter-regional trade.
Across ASEAN and the Gulf, the pandemic has caused a sharp economic contraction but there have been some bright spots – accelerated digitalization, a growing appetite for investing in sustainable infrastructure, and increased emphasis on supporting startup ecosystems. These new dynamics have pushed ASEAN’s digital economy to exceed $100 billion for the first time, while financing sustainable infrastructure is estimated to be a $2.8 trillion investment opportunity by 2030.
As ASEAN’s focus switches to building for a world after coronavirus – scaling-up tech-led businesses, accelerating digitalization – leveraging partnerships and hubs, have become urgent priorities as the region seeks to rebuild and lay the foundations to respond to future challenges; ingredients that make this an exciting region to watch with opportunities for business and investors to match.
Over the next five years, ASEAN members and their counterparts have the potential to create the world’s largest free trade area, riding on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement to add an estimated $186 billion to global GDP by 2030, forging new partnerships that will re-shape global connectivity.