This is where the World Economic Forum (WEF) hopes to make a difference. This Swiss non-profit foundation is best known for its annual summit in Davos where business leaders, politicians, academicians and just about anyone of global influence congregate to solve some of the world’s most complex problems.
By bringing the summit to Southeast Asia, WEF on ASEAN looks to find answers to such difficult questions. Carrying the theme of “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution” WEF on ASEAN 2018 in Hanoi, Vietnam will be attended by 900 political, business, academic and civil society leaders. Notable heads of state that will be attending include Myanmar’s State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong, Malaysia’s newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, controversial Cambodian leader Hun Sen, the leader of Lao Thongloun Sisoulith and others.
These heads of state will discuss their ideas and opinions in a discussion titled “ASEAN Priorities in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Other discussions lined up include Trade in Trouble: Navigating Geo-Economic Tensions and Asia’s Economic Outlook featuring Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Mulyani Indrawati and Santiprabhob Veerathai, Governor of the Bank of Thailand. Also slated to happen at the forum are special one on one sessions with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Aung San Suu Kyi and Hu Chunhua, Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China, respectively.
The forum will also pay special attention to entrepreneurs and their role in shaping the future of the region with 80 Southeast Asian start-ups selected to participate. These start-ups come from across the region and represent a wide variety of sectors, from financial services, logistics and e-commerce to agriculture, media and healthcare.
“We expect the start-ups to make an important contribution to shaping the debates at the meeting about the impact and course of new technologies and disruptive business models,” said Justin Head of Asia Pacific and Member of the Executive Committee at WEF.