15/12/2021 03:33 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 -- More collaborative efforts are needed between sectors, nations and individuals for economic rejuvenation and reform amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation chairman Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar.

He said collaboration and cooperation among nations in dealing with the pandemic and its consequences is highly necessary to yield positive outcomes, rather than to act independently.

“During this pandemic, more than ever, any action taken by one country may have impact on others.

“Without a unified, coordinated and well supported global efforts and governance, containing COVID-19 will be difficult to achieve,” he said in his address at the WIEF Roundtable 2021 today.

The two-day event, which began today with the theme “Revitalisation and Reform: Catalysing Growth”, is a platform for numerous business communities to discuss economic issues within a regional and global focus as well to explore new opportunities and strategic collaborations.

Syed Hamid said during this pandemic, collaborations such as multilateral cooperation on vaccine development, its deployment, information sharing and travel policies could have helped reduce the force of the virus spread as well as number of deaths, contain panic and slowdown economic devastation.

He said reports from international organisations and media heavily criticised the critical imbalances between developed and developing countries in terms of the availability as well as supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

“This inefficiency, in a way, reflected a woeful failure in the existing multilateral system and speaks volume of the universal moral responsibility of the rich and powerful nations,” he added.

Besides collaboration, Syed Hamid said, technological innovation is also a vital tool for economic revitalisation and a catalyst for its growth.

He said it has been proven that leveraging on digital technology can quicken the pace of an economic recovery process and boost global output, trade, commerce and employment.

“A recent example can be seen among countries in Asia and the Pacific region. During the coronavirus pandemic, these countries leveraged on rapid technological progress in various areas to stay competitive and recover.

“Embracing new technology not only brings them new gains for businesses and economic opportunities, but also expands their global network for trade,” he said.

Citing an Asian Development Bank report, Syed Hamid said the use of digital technologies is expected to create around 65 million new jobs in Asia and the Pacific until 2025, with regional trade set to increase by US$1 trillion (US$1=RM4.23) annually over the next five years.

“This, I feel, should add some optimism into a somewhat dark period that we endured in the last two years,” he said.

The WIEF Foundation has held 17 roundtables since 2011 to discuss topics ranging from Islamic trade and finance to investment opportunities and the green economy.


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