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Highlights from Boao Forum reports

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-20

Themed "A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation," this year's Boao Forum for Asia annual conference is ongoing in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern Hainan province, attracting more than 2,600 delegates from over 60 countries and regions.

The forum on Sunday released two flagship reports: Sustainable Development: Asia and the World Annual Report 2021, and Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2021. Let's take a look at some highlights from these reports.

Going forward in 2021, the pandemic remains the major variable that will have a direct bearing on the performance of Asian economies. Overall, Asian economies are likely to witness recovery in 2021. Its economic growth rate is expected to reach more than 6.5 percent.Asian economies, an "anchor" for multilateralism, play a key role in bolstering global pandemic control, keeping industries and supply chains efficient and stable, and promoting trade and investment.

In 2020, Asia's economic growth was significantly better than other regions, and Asia's share in the global economy, as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), has therefore further increased by 0.9 percentage point to 47.3 percent from 2019.

As Asia's largest economy, China has made indelible contributions to Asia's economic growth. In 2020, China was the only major economy in the world to achieve positive economic growth, with an economic growth rate of 2.3 percent.

Asia and the Pacific region's share of global GDP has leaped from 26.3 percent in 2000 to 34.9 percent in 2019. According to an estimate from the World Economic Forum, by 2030, Asia and the Pacific region is expected to contribute about 60 percent to the global economic growth and 90 percent of the 2.4 billion new middle-income class around the globe.

The alignment between various regional or even global inter-connectivity programs—the Belt and Road Initiative, Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and Eurasian Economic Union—provide significant impetus for regional trade and economic cooperation and post-pandemic economic recovery and development.

The pandemic has made all countries more fully aware of the value of the digital economy and thus has promoted its faster development. In the post-pandemic era, the digital economy will become a key force after the agricultural economy, industrial economy and information economy, influencing the world economy and international relations.

Asia has become one of the growing regions in developing the digital economy. In 2019, Asia's digital economy grew by 7.7 percent year-on-year, 3.4 percentage points higher than GDP growth during the same period. At present, the overall level of China's digital economy ranks second in the world.

To stride toward sustainable recovery, the report highlights addressing "four development deficits": healthcare, infrastructure, green and digital deficits. To address these deficits, the world should stand on the side of multilateralism and narrow the global governance deficit.

To reduce the health deficit, the world should prioritize vaccination and the establishment of mutual health data recognition arrangements. To narrow the deficits in infrastructure, green development and digital economy, global governance platforms and international organizations will have a vital role to play in urging countries to commit to and implement international agreements and initiatives.