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SBF supports the Asian business community’s call for greater collaboration and cooperation in innovation and development of infrastructure to spur inclusive growth and enterprise

16 July 2018 [Singapore] - The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) participated in the 9th Asian Business Summit (ABS) held on 13 July in New Delhi, India. SBF was represented by Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, Dr Shahzad Nasim, Group Executive Chairman of Meinhardt Group International and Mr Jossy Sebastien, CEO of YCH India.

Jointly hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the Summit was attended by representatives from business chambers and organisations from nine Asian economies.

Over the one-day summit, business leaders discussed the importance of inclusive growth and innovation for business communities operating in today’s increasingly integrated and interdependent global economy.

Federal Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Suresh Prabhu, expressed India’s desire to work with every economy to facilitate trade and commerce as the new engines of growth.

In a joint statement, the Asian business community affirmed the common goal to grow and prosper together through broad cooperation, within the framework of a free and open international economic order.

The summit reaffirmed the importance for Asian economies to continue collaborating and cooperating in maintaining and strengthening the free and open international economic order, which has helped raise living standards for their communities around the world.

However, business leaders also recognised that support for globalisation faces strong headwinds which can be overcome if government policies and investments heed calls for economic growth and inclusive development.
They would need to take a more proactive approach at developing infrastructure which supports the needs of local communities, creating an environment that spurs innovation and enterprise, which will also enable them to reap the benefits from global trade and investments.

Speaking on the growing demand for infrastructure in Asia, Dr Shahzad Nasim, Group Executive Chairman of the Meinhardt Group said, “Infrastructure is essential to help the economic and social development of a country. In Asia, where economies are evolving and growing at breakneck speed, governments will come under increasing fiscal pressure to keep up with the demand for infrastructure by their industry and people. Hence, it is imperative that governments address investor concerns by providing feasibility studies and initiating plans to help bridge the bankability gap of their infrastructure projects.”

Mr Jossy Sebastien, who heads the operations of the YCH Group in India, said, “Inclusive growth requires the confluence of hard and soft aspects of infrastructure development. The drive to boost regional connectivity as a way to promote inclusive growth must be about bringing together people while with the support of necessary hard infrastructures.” Citing examples from the supply chain sector, Mr Sebastien also stressed the importance of education and skills development when implementing new technologies, to ensure that people are at the centre of benefiting from technological advancements and innovation.

Addressing the summit on value creation through cooperation in innovation, Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of SBF, emphasised the need for greater cooperation between economies to create networks for exchange of information and joint research development.

“Business chambers can leverage on their networks, both domestic and overseas, to link up big and small enterprises, including start-ups, and innovation hubs. As network architects, business chambers can enable a wider spectrum of businesses to adopt technologies and transform their businesses to seize opportunities in the global economy with greater speed, scale and cost-effectiveness as well as create regional eco-systems which spur innovation.”

Vietnam will host the 10th Asian Business Summit in 2019.

Annex: Joint statement for the 9th Asian Business Summit

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