(PHNOM PENH) APRIL 28 – The news that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has accepted Cambodia’s invitation to host a major meeting in Phnom Penh next year has been greeted with enthusiasm by many in the Kingdom’s business sector.
The World Economic Forum on ASEAN will be a major regional forum over two days that will bring together political, business and social leaders for a high-profile meeting, with the major economic and political topics of the day on the agenda.
The government announced Wednesday that it would host the World Economic Forum on ASEAN after a meeting on Tuesday between His Excellency Prime Minister Hun Sen and Forum Managing Director Dr. Philipp Rösler.
“The meeting will provide important benefits to Cambodia for hosting the 2017 World Economic Forum on ASEAN. And the Forum will show that Cambodia is enjoying continued robust growth,” the Prime Minister said in a message posted on his Facebook page thanking Dr. Rösler and Forum board members.
Cambodia has been increasing its presence and profile at Forum events over the last 8 years, culminating in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s trips to the main Annual Meeting of the Forum in Davos and the East Asia Summit in Jakarta last year. “We are delighted that Cambodia will be hosting the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2017 which will be one of the highlights of the World Economic Forum calendar,” said Rösler.
“Cambodia has a compelling story to tell around the challenges and opportunities of rapid economic development in the 21st century which will make next year’s ASEAN meeting a very special one,” he added.
The increased involvement of Cambodia in Forum events has received strong support from the International Business Chamber of Cambodia (IBC), which has helped the government and Cambodian business delegations to organize trips to various Forum events around the world. IBC board members were present at the meeting between the Prime Minister and Dr. Rösler.
“This is great news for Cambodia as hosting the Forum will further strengthen the Kingdom’s growing reputation as a key economic partner in ASEAN and a place where business gets done,” said IBC Chairman Bretton Sciaroni.
“This is also a great reward for eight years of hard work by the IBC in building strong bridges between the government of Cambodia and the Forum– notably by our own board member Pierre Tami who, as a leading World Economic Forum Social Entrepreneur, has been tireless in promoting the relationship” said Sciaroni.
The summit is expected to take place in mid-May 2017 although exact timings and locations have not yet been revealed.
Typically, Forum events like this attract as many as 700 delegates, with many accompanied by their spouses.
This could represent a golden opportunity for businesses in Phnom Penh, as the capital will welcome an influx of prestige visitors in what is usually low season on the tourist calendar. After meeting the Prime Minister, Dr. Rösler called on newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, His Excellency Veng Sakhon, to thank him for the Ministry’s support for GrowAsia– an agriculture initiative supported by the World Economic Forum. GrowAsia will be hosting its first forum in Cambodia on May 10 – another sign of the strengthening bonds between Cambodia and these important international institutions.
GrowAsia announced at an IBC meeting last year that it is opening a secretariat in Phnom Penh to help support the country’s agriculture sector.