In 2017, the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrate 50 years of deepening unity and rising wealth. The path ahead may bring another 50 years of prosperity, but only if ASEAN can fully harness its inherent strengths and navigate its rising challenges.
Among its strengths, the ASEAN region has 630 million people, of whom more than half are under the age of 30. This promises a powerful demographic dividend that will drive already high rates of economic growth for years to come. Just as important, the transformative impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to deliver a potent digital dividend. As digital technology takes hold, it should stimulate powerful new industries and development models.
But nothing is guaranteed. To maximize the yield of these dividends, progress is needed in education, entrepreneurship, digital regulation, cross-border trade, governance and much else. In the Forum’s capacity as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, this meeting will be an ideal platform for senior decision-makers from a range of sectors to facilitate greater collaboration between industry, government and civil society, and to work on shaping the brightest future for the region’s young.