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Asia’s future in a challenging world

April 1, 2024

BEIJING – With each coming of spring is the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), held in China’s island province of Hainan. The theme for this year, “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities”, is a highly relevant one.

Throughout the world, there is no shortage of challenges: geopolitical conflicts, a sluggish global economy, lackluster trade, not to mention emerging risks from artificial intelligence and the existential threat from climate change.

But if one takes a closer look, region by region, the picture is not all doom and gloom.

Asia stands out as a bright spot. This part of the world has enjoyed robust growth for decades and continues to serve as a primary engine for the global economy. It has also avoided major conflicts in recent memory, despite a multitude of contentious issues.

Data from the McKinsey Global Institute show that Asia is now a prominent player in world order, technology platforms, demographic forces, resource and energy systems and capitalization. The entire region is set to grow at a rate of 4.5 percent in 2024, much higher than expected global growth, according to an International Monetary Fund forecast.

What is the secret behind the region’s success story? Perhaps it has a lot to do with the distinctively Asian way of doing things.

It is a way of respecting each other, building consensus and accommodating the comfort levels of all parties.

It is a way of advocating good neighborliness and friendship, collectively maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for development.

It is a way of jointly practicing open regionalism, further liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment while opposing trade protectionism, decoupling or cutting