Thursday 21st April was a historical moment in the Asian community calendar as it marked the 21st anniversary of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) which was officiated by the Chinese President Xi Jinping who came in full support of hastening global security through adherence to multilateralism and inclusiveness in the wake hard times facing the world, causing dynamic shifts in the world peace and order.
The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is a non-governmental and nonprofit international organization that was officially founded in 2001 to become a platform for dialogs among leaders of national governments, corporations, and academics in the Asian region and other continents on developmental issues. At the forum, President Xi cited challenges such as the COVID 19 pandemic, global instability, and inequality on developmental issues as major forces leading to a global economic shutdown. “These changes are posing challenges that must be taken seriously by humanity. We have yet to walk from the shadow of a once-in-a-century pandemic, but new traditional security risks are already emerging. The weak and faltering global economic recovery is compounded by a widening development gap. While governance deficit in areas like climate change has hardly been addressed, new issues such as digital governance are also vying for attention. Viewed in such a context, the theme of this year’s Annual Conference “The World in COVID-19 & Beyond: Working Together for Global Development and Shared Future” cannot be more relevant,” he said.
Synonymous with the 2021 BFA forum’s report on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, where it had been revealed that there was a significant deficit in health and green technology, President Xi used this year’s forum to reiterate the need to work together for global peace and stability, develop initiatives to promote economic recovery deriving from the Global Development Initiative (GDI) he proposed in the preceding forums. One key concern raised by President Xi was the discerning “cold war mentality” that has proven to stifle development progress globally and called for global peace. “Having been through hot and cold wars, hardships, and tribulations, people in Asia deeply cherish the value of peace and understand that development gains do not come easily. Over the past decades, Asia has enjoyed overall stability and sustained rapid growth, making possible the Asian Miracle. When Asia fares well, the whole world benefits. Therefore, we need to continue developing and strengthening Asia, demonstrate Asia’s resilience, wisdom and strength, and make Asia an anchor for world peace, a powerhouse for global growth, and a new pacesetter for international cooperation,” he highlighted.
With other initiatives best suited for global cooperation, China’s recent and successful donation and supply of more than 2.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the world and international organizations is an attestation to President Xi’s proposal for all countries of the world to “work together to defend people’s lives and health.” This further shows the commitment by China and its Asian counterparts to double efforts to reinvigorate the world economy and close the North-South divide as evidenced by multinational cooperation such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and many others that are mandated to emancipating countries in the global south from shrinking economies. Following the World Bank’s International Comparison Program’s (ICP) global results for 176 economies, which were consolidated by the Asian Development Bank in May 2020, China, is the leading economic powerhouse in the Asian region, and is the first of the top three economies in the Asia and the Pacific region with a 16.4% economic contribution, followed by India at 6.7%, and Indonesia at 2.4% in the world economy ranking in terms of share of global Purchasing Power Parities (PPP-based) GDP. According to the report, the cumulative Asian economic contribution to the global economy has been rising significantly in the past years, reaching about 26%. This is consummate with Asia’s projection of “doubling its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) to 52 percent” by 2050, in the region’s quest to tackle policy, institutional, and governance challenges based on three key levels of national action, regional cooperation, and global agenda.