||Asean Affairs 4 June 2013
Thein Sein to Inaugurate World Economic Forum
Myanmar President Thein Sein will personally open the World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF) on Wednesday when Myanmar hosts for the first time an international event of this stature.
Some 900 economists, business leaders, diplomats and academics from 55 countries will participate in the June 5-7 WEF, which this year has as its theme, “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration.”
Hosting the three-day summit is seen as a honor for Myanmar and recognition of its transformation from military-dominated pariah state to nascent democracy and potential ‘Asian Tiger’.
As the WEF said on its website: “After a series of bold economic and political reforms in Myanmar, the meeting will be the first leading international gathering of senior decision-makers from industry, government, academia and civil society to be held in the country. Through this unique multi-stakeholder platform, the meeting will be an unrivalled opportunity to understand and to shape Myanmar’s ongoing reforms and reconciliation process. Additionally, as Myanmar assumes the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014, it will have a critical role in guiding the bloc’s 10 member economies toward the planned economic integration in 2015. In this regard, the meeting will provide value not only to participants from the ASEAN region, but also to those who see in ASEAN an important evolving geopolitical and geo-economic pillar of the global economy.”
Alongside the Myanmar president, the heads of state of Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam will attend.
Sushant Palakurthi Rao, the senior director and head of Asia at the WEF, said, “Through frank discussions with our community of leaders we are committed to underlining the importance of key social and economic development challenges such as creating jobs, improving education, ensuring better healthcare and enhancing connectivity.”
The meeting is also scheduled to feature key international public figures such as: Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance of Cambodia; Goh Chok Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister and Senior Adviser to the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Stephen P. Groff, Vice-President, Operations 2, Asian Development Bank, Manila; Kittirat Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand; Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva; Cesar V. Purisima, Secretary of Finance of the Philippines; Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Textiles of India; Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC; and Gita Wirjawan, Minister of Trade of Indonesia.