The sixth South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) was held in Colombo from September 2-4. It was hosted by the country’s leading economic policy think tank, the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS). Held annually in a different regional country, the SAES brought together leading experts from the academia, government, the civil society and the private sector. This year’s theme was ‘Towards a Stronger, Dynamic and Inclusive South Asia’. The summit tackled many critical issues facing the regional countries, including the imperatives for closer cooperation and emerging growth opportunities and challenges for South Asia in the context of fast changing global economic dynamics.
Issues such as what the South Asian states need to do to strengthen their economic growth prospects while managing risks and challenges were also discussed. While SAARC provides a platform to South Asian countries for diplomatic discussions, the SAES has emerged as an important source for vital analyses and policy insights in the regional integration agenda.
Key speakers this year included Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Constitutional Affairs, D.E.W. Gunasekera, the Secretary General of SAARC, Ahmed Saleem, the Executive Chairman of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, Posh Raj Pandey, the President of the South Asian University, G K Chadha, the Deputy Executive Director of SDPI, Vaqar Ahmed, Golam Moazzem of Dhaka’s Centre for Policy Dialogue and the Advisor of Commonwealth Business Council, Arif Zaman among others.