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Saturday 18 September 2021

Distinguished Guests,

Welcome to the ACD Connect Business Forum 2016. I am honored to join all of you today to be part of the new momentum of ACD.

Fourteen years ago, the family of Asia Cooperation Dialogue or ACD started from 18 founding Member States and has expanded to 34 today, covering every sub-region of Asia. This is indeed a testament that the Member States have found under the ACD framework, comfort and confidence. Friendly “cooperation” and constructive “dialogue” promoted by the ACD bring together the diverse strengths of the Asian region into a driving force, fostering Asia as one sustainable community with the aspiration to pull our weight and to leave no one behind. This is the main theme of this ACD Summit, “One Asia, Diverse Strengths”.

The private sector is pivotal to creating the new momentum that shall bring the ACD forward, recharged, reinvigorated. Tighter public-private partnership, as well as stronger partnership with the people allows Asia to grow in a comprehensive, balanced and sustainable manner. Amidst the slow recovery of the global economy, waves of fluctuations and more challenges to come, the Asian economy with its robust growth can uplift confidence and boost the world’s economy as a whole.

However, in uniting Asia as one, connectivity is needed for us to collaborate and bring out diverse potentials of Asia. Together, we should promote connectivity by Asia for Asia, in terms of infrastructure, trade and investment, rules and regulations, technology transfer, especially people-to-people. Every activity should be brought into practice as soon as possible according to the roadmap.

Developing infrastructure is a long-term investment, with clear cost reduction in transporting goods and people. It also enhances information and knowledge sharing, welfare distribution, inclusive well-being, as well as reduces disparity in developing the country. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects that within 2020, developing countries in Asia will see their real income rise by 6% or almost USD 1 trillion if the estimated transport investment needs in Asia are met and appropriate infrastructure is constructed.

WEF estimated that the demand for investment in infrastructure in Asia remains as high as USD 5 trillion annually, accounting for more than 60% of the demand of infrastructure investment worldwide. In practice, difficult challenges remain to be overcome.  How can we mobilize a large amount of existing funds scattered all over in Asia to satisfy the necessary infrastructure demand within the region that corresponds to each country’s geographical limitations, while safeguarding the environment. How can we promote an atmosphere conducive for this kind of investment and have a viable public-private partnership in place as a supporting mechanism.

Thailand has put in place a 20-year National Strategy that underlines competitiveness enhancement through science, technology and innovation in order to thrust the country’s manufacturing and service sectors into the fourth industrial revolution known as Thailand 4.0. Industries that will be the country’s future are identified. Special Economic Zones are set up. Human capital is being enhanced. Public administration is being improved. Rules and regulations are being reformed, while Thailand is expediting the upgrade of infrastructure to be effectively and comprehensively connected locally and also with ACD Member States. We have already launched the USD 2.7 billion “Thailand Future Fund to raise capital from the private sector for infrastructure investment that will benefit national development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I urge you to brainstorm on which model or what kind of mechanism can successfully mobilize transborder investment to finance infrastructure. Through what kind of collaboration can the public and private sectors, as well as international organizations and international development banks work together to achieve it. What scheme can bring about transport infrastructure network in order to become the sustainable bedrock of Asia’s prosperity?

FinTech Towards Asias Cashless Societ

Linkage in transport infrastructure, ICT, and innovation has enhanced Asia’s investment and financial connectivity. Thanks to innovation and technology, FinTech has already transformed and continues to transform the financial sector of ACD Member States. Already taking advantage of FinTech, Thailand has announced the National e-Payment strategy plan, aimed to transform the country into a cashless society. The plan is expected to reduce the cost of our cash management by more than USD 2 billion a year.

Last year, the world witnessed a fourfold increase in FinTech investment in Asia worth as much as USD 4.3 billion. FinTech has already transformed the lifestyles of Asian people while widening access to financial services and capital. In the future, every Asian person should be able to shop without cash or credit cards in hand. He or she can purchase goods without going to the store. Asian people all should be able to remit money home without paying an excessive fee and have access to sources of funding from those who believe in your businesses on a reliable, efficient and secure platform.

There remain challenges

However, there remain challenges to all of these whether in terms of levels of infrastructure of each country, governing rules and regulations, or secure information system. Collaboration between the public and private sectors and all stakeholders, is required in order to create awareness and to educate our people in order to handle these challenges together and in a constructive manner without obstructing the development, but rather encourage the learning and utilization of technology and innovation to support the development of financial connectivity across Asia and the world.

Today, we have representatives from the public sector, the banking and financial sector, regulators and FinTech users to share experiences, exchange ideas on opportunities, and address common challenges in order to collectively lay the foundation of financial connectivity in Asia. Please make full use of the ACD Connect 2016 platform to brainstorm on Asian opportunities and make connections among ACD friends, in order to embrace and further integrated to deepen financial inclusion and financial access in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Lastly, I truly hope that the ACD Connect platform becomes an important evolution of the ACD, becomes an occasion for the private sector of the ACD family, and will be the crucial step in becoming the Asian Community in the future. I wish today’s meeting all the success it deserves. Tomorrow afternoon, the ACD Leaders and I look forward to hearing key recommendations from the discussion today, as well as any other proposals you may have so that the public and private sectors of the ACD Member States can join hands to strengthen Asia’s economy and propel Asia towards sustainable prosperity, while reigniting global growth.

I wish you success, and hope that you find potentials/obstacles and solutions thereto, and improve connectivity at the earliest by setting the roadmap for all activities of all countries.

Thank you.



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