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We’ve entered the Asian Century and there is no turning back

In the nineteenth century, the world was Europeanized. In the twentieth century, it was Americanized. Now, it is being Asianized – and much faster than you may think.

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Asia’s rise has been swift. Home to more than half of the world’s population, the region has climbed from low- to middle-income status within a single generation. By 2040, it is likely to generate more than 50% of world GDP, and could account for nearly 40% of global consumption.

New McKinsey Global Institute research shows the extent to which the global center of gravity is shifting toward Asia.

Today, the region has an increasing global share of trade, capital, people, knowledge, transport, culture, and resources.

Of the eight types of global cross-border flows, only waste is flowing in the opposite direction, reflecting the decision by China and other Asian countries to reduce imports of garbage from developed countries.

Asia now accounts for around one-third of global trade in goods, up from about a quarter ten years ago. Over roughly the same period, its share of global airline travelers has risen from 33% to 40%, and its share of capital flows has increased from 13% to 23%.

Those flows have fueled growth in Asia’s cities. The region is home to 21 of the world’s 30 largest, and four of the ten most visited.

Image: McKinsey & Company

And some of Asia’s lesser-known cities are now also on investors’ radar. In Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) in knowledge-intensive sectors totaled $2.6 billion in 2017, up from virtually zero in 2007.

Similarly, Bekasi, a smaller city near Jakarta, has emerged as the Detroit of Indonesia – the center of Indonesia’s automotive and motorcycle industry. Over the last decade, FDI in the city’s manufacturing industry has grown at an average rate of 29% per year. And Hyderabad – which generated over 1,400 patents in 2017 – is quickly catching up with India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore.

But it’s not only external flows being channeled into Asia. Dynamic intraregional networks are also driving progress.

Around 60% of Asian countries’ total trade in goods occurs within the region, facilitated by increasingly integrated Asian supply chains. Intraregional funding and investment flows are also increasing, with more than 70% of Asian startup funding coming from within the region. Flows of people – 74% of travel within Asia is undertaken by Asians – help to integrate the region as well.

What makes these flows work is Asia’s diversity. In fact, there are at least four “Asias,” each at a different stage of economic development, playing a unique role in the region’s global rise.

The first Asia comprises China, the region’s anchor economy, which provides a connectivity and innovation platform to its neighbors. In 2013-17, the country accounted for 35% of Asia’s total outward FDI, with about one-quarter of that investment going to other Asian economies. Reflecting its rapidly growing innovation capacity, China accounted for 44% of the world’s patent applications in 2017.

The second grouping – “Advanced Asia” – also provides technology and capital. With total outward FDI of $1 trillion, these countries accounted for 54% of total regional FDI outflows in 2013-17. South Korea alone provided 33% of all FDI flows to Vietnam. Japan accounted for 35% of Myanmar’s FDI inflows, and 17% of the Philippines’.

Then there is “Emerging Asia,” which comprises a relatively diverse group of small emerging economies that provide not only labor, but also growth potential, owing to rising productivity and consumption. These economies are deeply integrated with their regional neighbors: their average share of intraregional flows of goods, capital, and people is 79%, the highest of the four Asias.

By contrast, the fourth grouping – “Frontier Asia and India” – has the lowest average share of intraregional flows, amounting to just 31%. But this figure –…

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Asean

ASEAN, Canada, UN Women launch 5-year programme to advance Women, Peace and Security Agenda

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Joint Press Release ASEAN, Canada, UN Women jointly launch 5-year programme to advance Women, Peace and Security Agenda
Jakarta/Ottawa/New York, 24 February 2021 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Canada and UN Women jointly launched today a five-year programme to expand and strengthen women’s leadership and participation in conflict prevention, resolution and recovery in South-East Asia.

The CAD 8.5 million (US $6.36 million) programme, “Empowering women for sustainable peace: preventing violence and promoting social cohesion in ASEAN”, is funded by Global Affairs Canada to support ASEAN and the implementation of the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action 2021-2025, with the support of UN Women as a lead UN partner.

“Canada is proud to launch this flagship initiative that uses the women, peace and security approach to promote inclusive and sustainable peace and security in the region, while addressing the systemic gender inequality,” said Diedrah Kelly, Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN.

ASEAN has made important strides to advance women, peace and security agenda, including the adoption of the first ‘Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN’ in 2017, the launch of the ASEAN Women’s Peace Registry in 2018, and convening the first ASEAN Symposium on Women, Peace and Security in 2019 and the ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Women’s role for Sustainable Peace and Security in 2020.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi said, “ASEAN is working concertedly to advance women, peace and security agenda across the three ASEAN Community Pillars as part of our commitment to promote gender equality and the roles of women in the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.”

The COVID-19 impact has increased the risks for women and girls in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and this challenges us to re-examine threats to human security. “The pandemic highlights the important linkage between peace, humanitarian and development and the critical need for women’s leadership and participation to ensure effective and comprehensive response, from policy decision-making to peace building and pandemic response,” said Jamshed Kazi, UN Women Representative and Liaison to ASEAN.

The new programme reflects the commitment of ASEAN and Canada to promote gender equality and to respond to an increasingly widespread calls across the globe for women to be empowered to lead and participate in peace and development.

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

For more information, please contact:
Montira Narkvichien
Regional Communications Specialist
UN Women Asia and the Pacific
Tel: +66 2 288 1579 | Mobile: +66 81 6688900 | Email: [email protected]

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New report analyses labour productivity across ASEAN countries

In terms of individual Member States, Thailand recorded the highest average growth rate, with an
average annual per-worker labor productivity growth rate of 3.44 percent. Singapore (3.25
percent), Malaysia (3.18 percent), and Indonesia (3.17 percent) followed with similar average
annual growth rates of over 3 percent.

Olivier Languepin

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ASEAN promotes higher labour productivity for the region

JAKARTA, 23 February 2021 – Today, ASEAN Secretariat launched the Regional Study Report on Labour Productivity in ASEAN.

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India, ASEAN Agree to Review FTA Scope, Address Uneven Market Access

Chief among India’s concerns is that Indian exporters have been denied a level playing field in the Southeast Asian market. Moreover, New Delhi believes that China has taken undue advantage of the ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA) due to weak rules of origin.

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India, ASEAN Agree to Review FTA Scope, Address Uneven Market Access

The 8th East Asia Summit (Economic Ministers’ Meeting) was held virtually on Friday, followed by the 17th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Consultations on August 29.

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