Global economic governance enters 'Asian moment', dev't finance urgently needed: BFA 2023

Experts point out that global economic governance is entering the "Asian moment" and call for joint actions of the public and private sectors in development finance, in two annual reports published Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2023.

The two BFA flagship reports, unveiled at a press conference, offer analysis into Asia's economic outlook and integration, and sustainable development respectively.

In "Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2023", the BFA calls Asia a "bright spot" in the bleak global economic landscape.

"Asia is expected to accelerate its pace of overall economic growth, continue to advance regional production, trade, investment and financial integration and cohesion, and seize the 'Asian Moment' for global economic governance" against the backdrop of global slowdown, the report says.

This report estimates the weighted real GDP growth rate of Asia in 2023 to be 4.5%, an increase from 4.2% last year, making it a standout performer in view of the global economic slowdown.

In spite of the positive outlook on Asia's economy, the report also brings to attention external risks facing economies inside the region, saying it is important to address the sustained increase in debt levels in Asian emerging markets, developing economies, and low-income countries.

The BFA believes "the strong recovery of the Chinese economy may provide Asian economies with a cushion against external impacts."

Other critical issues that merit significant attention include reconfiguration of industrial chain, climate change responses and implementation of regional trade agreements, according to the report.

In the other annual report, "Sustainable Development: Asia and the World Annual Report 2023 — Public Private Joint Actions in Financing Asia's Development", the BFA warns of the widening funding gap for development in Asia.

"Many low- and middle- income countries in Asia are encountering massive development challenges amid multiple crises, such as inflation, earthquakes, droughts, floods, supply chain disruptions, food and energy shortages and climate change," the report states.

The report also points to the crucial role of development finance in transforming Asia into a greener, smarter and more inclusive region and notably facilitating knowledge sharing and institutional setting.

"Multilateral cooperation and blended finance are important ingredients to address the dire challenges and fill in development funding gaps in Asia," the report notes.

Li Baodong, secretary-general of the BFA, said at the press conference that Asia has been a reliable driving force behind global growth and an important supporting force of multilateralism. Yet, inside the region, food, sanitation, energy and climate crises are plunging many countries into deep trouble, he added.

"The solution of these problems calls for closer cooperation both inside Asia and across the whole world," Li said.

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