$5trln mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia beckon for global busi­ness

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Thin Lei Win

BUSI­NESSES in Asia could un­lock at least $5 tril­lion (R63.78trln) in mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties and cre­ate 230 mil­lion jobs by 2030 by im­ple­ment­ing a few key de­vel­op­ment goals, global busi­ness and fi­nance lead­ers said.

Asia’s un­prece­dented eco­nomic growth has helped to re­duce poverty, but fu­ture growth, pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity “are all un­der threat from the im­pact of a swelling list of en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial bur­dens,” ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased on Mon­day by the Busi­ness and Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion.

“There is the op­por­tu­nity to shape a safer, more pros­per­ous world,” the re­port said. Asia, home to two-thirds of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, is ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble to weather-re­lated dis­as­ters, whose fre­quency and in­ten­sity could worsen as a re­sult of climate change.

Mean­while, more than 80 per­cent of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion live in coun­tries where in­equal­ity has risen over the past 20 years, ac­cord­ing to the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank.

Pur­su­ing strate­gies in line with the UN’s Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) would turn th­ese threats into op­por­tu­ni­ties and pro­vide “the chance to con­sol­i­date and sus­tain the re­gion’s re­gen­er­a­tion”, the re­port said.

Four key ar­eas are cities, en­ergy and ma­te­ri­als, food and agri­cul­ture, and health and well-be­ing.

The 17-point SDGs, launched last year, in­clude tar­gets on elim­i­nat­ing poverty, pro­vid­ing clean en­ergy, cre­at­ing bet­ter jobs and tack­ling eco­nomic in­equal­ity by 2030.

The re­port iden­ti­fied four key ar­eas with the most sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties – cities, en­ergy and ma­te­ri­als, food and agri­cul­ture, and health and well-be­ing – and spe­cific projects such as af­ford­able housing, re­new­able en­ergy, re­duc­ing food waste and sus­tain­able aqua­cul­ture. The $5trln value is con­ser­va­tive and more value could come from other sec­tors, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, ed­u­ca­tion and con­sumer goods.

The cost of re­al­is­ing th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties in the four key ar­eas would likely re­quire $1.7trln of an­nual in­vest­ment, the re­port said.

The com­mis­sion said “blended fi­nanc­ing”, where pub­lic and phil­an­thropic bod­ies take on high risk and more pol­icy-sen­si­tive in­vest­ment, could fill the fund­ing gap.

The re­port fol­lows an ear­lier study that iden­ti­fied $12trln in mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties and the cre­ation of up to 380 mil­lion jobs glob­ally in the same time frame. Of the $5trln in busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia, around $2.3trln could be found in China alone, the re­port said. – Bloomberg


Pedes­tri­ans cross an in­ter­sec­tion in Tokyo, Ja­pan. Ja­pan is among the wealth­i­est Asian coun­tries, but en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial bur­dens are an ever-present threat to the coun­try.

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