Interview: Cambodian gov't advisor says Boao Forum plays vital role in solving global challenges

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-02 20:32:07|Editor: Xiang Bo
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by Nguon Sovan, Mao Pengfei

PHNOM PENH, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Boao Forum, one of the Asia's most prestigious platforms, has played a vital role in finding solutions to challenges that the region and the world are facing, said Sok Siphana, an advisor to the Cambodian government.

Speaking to Xinhua ahead of the annual Boao Forum recently, which is scheduled for April 8-11 in south China's Hainan Province, Siphana said 2018 started with a lot of mixed global and regional developments, like the prospects of trade war, geo-political rivalries, protectionism, and anti-globalization tendencies on the one hand, and on the other hand, the globe has disruptive technologies which were shaping the growth prospects of the world.

"As usual, the Boao Forum is quite bold in tackling sensitive issues of regional and global importance, from Fintech, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, to broad topics of connectivity, like infrastructure, the Belt and Road, trade and monetary policies of major powers (China, the United States, Japan and India)," he said.

He added that the forum had its likely impacts on the world economic growth and global governance issues to respond to profound changes in a global economic landscape, i.e. from International Monetary Fund reform to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and from G7 to G20.

Siphana said at the upcoming forum, he would be speaking at a CEO Roundtable on the Belt & Road: Case studies & Success Stories.

"We hope to hear from various governments and corporations on how they have been able to conduct successful projects and how we can learn from them, in terms of project design and implementation," he said. "I intend to highlight a Cambodian Belt and Road project related to the development of the cassava industry."

Siphana said the expectation from the upcoming Boao Forum was the accumulation of a wealth of knowledge and insights from high-level speakers and participants and how he could apply them to improve the policies and development of Cambodia.

"So many dynamics are shaping our world and their evolution is so rapid. Unless we can stay abreast of these developments, I am afraid we will be on the losing end of this global geo-politic and economic game," he said.

Asked whether he had any suggestions on the cooperation between China and Cambodia under the Belt and Road Initiative, Siphana said so far, the cooperation was progressing at a very rapid pace.

"I am keen to see both China and Cambodia pro-actively make an early assessment of the various projects and initiatives which the governments have endorsed," he said. "We need to look quite critically on the private sector dynamics as well, which have taken on a life of its own, even without the governments knowing about it."

The expert expressed his belief that any fast growth would entail both positive and negative impacts on the economy of the country, as well as on the society and the local communities, and for sure on the environment.

He said lessons needed to be learned, and they needed to be learned fast so that they could take early corrective measures.

As 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the China's reform and opening up policy, Siphana said the reform and opening up had not only benefited China itself, but also all countries across the globe.

"I see China's reform and opening up is a good sign. Good for China, good for the region and indeed for the world," he said. "I believe this is a moment where China can show its true global leadership."

"We can't afford to see so many decades of global economic liberalization going down the drain. Perhaps China is the answer," he added.