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September 17, 2019

Mere words not enough to achieve development goals

A key goal of the ASEAN Economic Community is to encourage the competitiveness and expansion of small and medium enterprises in accordance with the Strategic Action Plan for ASEAN SME development (2010-2015).
The bloc has developed the ASEAN SME Guidebook with the aim of raising awareness of the financial facilities and market opportunities available to SMEs within the 10-member bloc.
In implementation of the AEC, the different levels of economic development of ASEAN Member states should be considered seriously.
At present, there are vast differences in the level of economic development between some member countries, with the gaps largely attributable to differences in the stability, management, and mindset of state leadership.
The Asian Development Bank recently recognized that Cambodia, with gross domestic product expansion at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent between 2007 and 2014, now ranks among the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The country managed to rapidly reduce poverty from nearly 50 percent of the population in 2007 to 19 percent in 2012. The ADB has predicted growth of 7.3 percent in 2015 due to well-managed inflation, a stable exchange rate and sustained competitiveness.
The ASEAN Framework for Equitable Economic Development (AFEED) was introduced in 2011 for member states to enable regional economic integration based on the principles of inclusive and sustainable growth, poverty alleviation and narrowing the development gap. This is in theory.
In practice, the economic development of member countries largely relies on individual states. Organizations in respective countries need to assess whether their works can help reduce poverty. If they are not confident of this, they need to consider reforms to better enable them to help meet this goal.
International financial institutions and other groups should consider the situations and management of organizations before they provide support. Mere words are not enough to build up a developing state. Economic hardship can have many negative consequences, such as displacement of people or rising crime rates.
Government and business leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, must seek to ensure their own country does not lag too far behind the rest of the regional community.

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