Malaysia will focus on bringing APEC closer to the people, with the objective of creating a balanced and fair cooperation among economies, towards a more inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. The benefits accrued through APEC will be translated into a more relatable form for the general public.
‘Shared Prosperity’ is the key message that will be embraced in all the priority areas and initiatives carried out in 2020. Malaysia aims to find a balance between the developing and developed economy through fair and genuine cooperation in all the priority areas for a more inclusive development in the region. By adopting ‘Shared Prosperity’, APEC economies can realign the focus for trade and investment that is more inclusive, as regional cooperation can be fruitful for narrowing inequalities within and among countries.
Regional economic cooperation and integration can help the lesser developed economies grow faster by leveraging the dynamism of more developed economies, and by exploiting the complementarities in a mutually beneficial manner. Regional cooperation can also help in addressing common challenges, such as shared vulnerabilities and in supporting common objectives.
The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought about by digitalisation, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, advancement of automation and the advent of other new technologies that bring about sweeping changes in our lives and the way we do business.
The challenge is how to ensure no one is left behind in the age of disruption. Some will be slow on the uptake but others will be faster. It is important that initiatives and programmes for APEC 2020 is designed to addresses disruption and inequality, as inequality is bad for economic growth, and bad for social well-being.
Taking into consideration of APEC as a regional economic forum, it is customary for the host of APEC to prioritise regional economic integration as one of the Priority Areas in their hosting year. For this priority, Malaysia has decided to bring to the fore discussions on current global issues in order to re-instil confidence towards the benefits of free trade and investment. The focus of this priority area is for a balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth, which will be attained through regional economic integration in the path that aspires for shared prosperity.
The traditional narrative that the world accustomed to is that trade and investment benefits the businesses and in turn this will generate social benefits that are shared by everyone, subsequently improve living standard across the board. On the contrary, more and more debate on inequality has been pushed to the forefront of economy issue with growing sentiment of populism that ever-increasing wealth concentration is dangerous and a threat to human progress and social cohesion.
Due to these sentiments, Malaysia aspires to change the narrative of trade and investment to suit the current situation by putting people at its core and pursuit of inclusive sustainable growth central, with assurance to leave no one behind.
Technological revolution is something that we have to embrace and if done correctly, can serve as an opportunity for inclusive economic participation, not only exclusive to the young and bright minds, but from all members of society, especially the ones from rural and sub-urban areas.
This priority area will concentrate on women empowerment/gender mainstreaming, youth development, quality of living for the aging society and conducive business environment for SMEs, Start-ups and Social Enterprises. Relevant initiatives will be carried out to enable these target groups to be the catalysts for economic growth through utilisation of digital economy and technologies. Among issues that will be highlighted is the readiness of these target groups to face the disruptions brought on by the 4th Industrial Revolution.
For this priority area, focus will be on how innovative practices can contribute towards sustainable development, as a value-add to the current practices in waste management, food security and energy management.
The topics that will be featured are circular economy, including innovative ways for solid waste management and more effective recycling methods to convert waste to products with commercial value, to generate wealth.