Day 3 of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit was focused on ‘the outward looking approach’ of ASEAN from a business and investment perspective. No person who would have been a better person to give an opening keynote speech than Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. From about 50 metre distance to his excellency, the GoLive Indonesia Representative (GIR) can feel his humbleness and concerns. What surprising was instead of talking about business and investment related matters, he talked about poor women’s and children’s health from less fortunate families in some developing countries and challenged the business communities ‘What can you do to address these development challenges?’.
At the end of the Day 3, the GIR found a link that could have connected between UN Secretary General’s development challenges and business communities contribution but was not explicitly stated by the panellists.
Ban Ki-Moon recently visited a village in Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia and eye-witnessed benefits from the presence of rural clinics in an isolated area. The benefits are especially evident from women and children. His trip across countries suggested that basic needs such as clean water are still major issues in many communities in developing countries. Taking lessons from success stories in some developing countries, he viewed that countries do not need to wait until they get wealthy to improve their health and education facilities. More importantly, countries and various stakeholders can do more if they act together.
Ban Ki-Moon suggested that Asia has not played a greater role in addressing global development challenges as it should have been. Asia should put more attention to the young generation which accounts for over 50% of the Asian population. Young generation promises potential dynamism and can become foundation of growth as they improve productivity of workforce.
Ban Ki-Moon highlighted the role of technology in dealing with global development challenges. Technology can connect between medical practitioners and their patients living in isolated areas as well as connect doctors between countries. Doctors can send ultra sound graphs to their fellow doctors in Thailand by mobile phone and receive feedback before advising their patients the results.
The question is “what can business communities do to address these development challenges?”
(To be continued)
This article is prepared by Risti Permani.