More than 600 participants from business, government, civil society and academia will participate in this year’s World Economic Forum on East Asia, which takes place in Manila, the Philippines, on 21-23 May.

The meeting convenes against a backdrop of impressive growth rates in the economic bloc, but also persistent disparities in competitiveness and development.

Under the meeting’s theme, Leveraging Growth for Equitable Progress, participants will discuss the opportunities to promote greater inclusion across East Asia. The three pillars of the programme are: Achieving Equitable Progress, Advancing Models for Sustainable Growth and Realizing Regional Connectivity.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and members of his government will be joined at the meeting by Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, and U Nyan Tun, Vice-President of Myanmar.

Key participants include the following: Sun Chanthol, Minister of Commerce, Cambodia; Muhamad Chatib Basri, Minister of Finance, Muhammad Lutfi, Minister of Trade and R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia; Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; U Win Myint, Union Minister of Commerce and U Win Shein, Union Minister of Finance and Revenue, Myanmar; Lee Il-Houng, G20 Sherpa, Ambassador for International Cooperation, Korea; Yasutoshi Nishimura, Senior Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office, Japan; Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander, United States Pacific Command, USA; Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam; Takehiko Nakao, President, Asian Development Bank; Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; and Rachel Kyte, Vice-President and Special Envoy, Climate Change, World Bank.

“Over 3 billion people live in ASEAN, China and India, and in 2014, the whole East Asian region is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the world. Such progress is impressive only when industry and government leaders are fully committed to equitable distribution and inclusive growth,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The co-chairs of the meeting are: Yolanda Kakabadse President, World Wide Fund for Nature, Switzerland; Takeshi Niinami, Chairman, Lawson, Japan; Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman of the Board, Toshiba Corporation, Japan; and James T. Riady, Chief Executive Officer, Lippo Group, Indonesia.

Author: Fon Mathuros is Senior Director, Head of Media, at the World Economic Forum

Image: Atsutoshi Nishida is one of the Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on East Asia