The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 will take place from March 28 to March 31 in the South Chinese province of Hainan. “Uncertain World: Working Together to Overcome Issues, and Encouraging Development via Openness and Inclusion” is the theme of the conference. The Boao Forum for Asia was granted UN “Observer status” in the General Assembly, according to the agenda for the Assembly’s seventy-fourth session. Ratan Tata, an Indian business magnate, was chosen to serve on the Boao Forum’s board. The position is a rare honour for an Indian in the powerful organisation supported by the Chinese government.
Why BOAO Forum matters for Asia
The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which is better known as the “Asian Davos”, was held on March 26-29, 2019, at its permanent location since 2001, Boao in Hainan Islands. The theme for this year’s forum was “Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development” and over 2,000 delegates from 60 countries attended the BFA. An exclusive event for members, partners and special invitees, the BFA provides a platform for government, businesses and academia to share their vision on the most pressing issues facing this dynamic region and the world such as health, society, environment, blue economy, tourism, culture, education, technology and agriculture.
An Asian Perspective
The main idea of the BFA is to promote and deepen economic exchange, coordination, and cooperation within Asia and between Asia and other parts of the world. At the 2019 edition, Indian business tycoon Ratan Tata was inducted as a member of the board of BFA, a great distinction for an Indian. During a previous interaction with the media at the BFA, Mr Tata said Indian businesses had failed to grasp many opportunities offered by the vast Chinese market. Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General of The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), spoke at the ‘WTO Reform’ session.
China praised globalisation, multilateralism and free trade initiatives as the pillars of development in the absence of global leadership. The forum is going forward by China leading the world in economic affairs.
The BFA has managed to push forward cooperation between countries, with an array of projects carried out in recent years. For example, projects on sharing the seed production technology of a rice breed have been carried out between Hainan and several ASEAN countries. So far, 550,000 hectares of hybrid rice has been planted in the Philippines, 2.5 million hectares in India, 330,000 hectares in Pakistan, 700,000 hectares in Vietnam and 200,000 hectares in Indonesia.
During this year’s forum, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasised on Beijing’s support for the multilateral trading system and reforms in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
While outlining the key reforms China is undertaking and steps being taken for encouraging Foreign Direct Investment, he also mentioned that Beijing would take specific steps for opening up sectors such as transport, infrastructure, telecommunications, medical care and education. He emphasised the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. Premier Li underlined that China will continue to open up and innovate to energise the market and strengthen indigenous economic development.
Personal Diary (#Bikash_Kali_Das)
The Forum gave me a deep insight about its significance in Asia, and also gave me an opportunity to put forward my views on an issue of global importance: “Tech for culture”. I spoke on how technology can play a vital role in enhancing people-to-people interaction and can also be used for the preservation and promotion of culture of human history and cultural identity. It can play a vital role in knowledge development, conservation, use and enhancement of cultural and artistic heritage.
The Forum was important not just from Beijing’s standpoint since it highlighted some of its key economic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but also the perspective of China–Asia relationship. The other speakers at the Young Leaders’ roundtable shared their personal experiences and understanding of the relationship between technology and future generations. Professor Mitsuko Chikasada from Soka University spoke on the importance of education; Tian Ning, CEO, of Panshi IT Corporation Limited stressed on the opportunity to embrace the changes in technology; and Du Chao from Fortune Times spoke on the impact overuse of technology, especially mobile phones on this generation. I also suggested on developing a manual for parents that can help them understand the uses of mobile technology for the alpha generation. The Boao Forum for Asia is a platform where we can put forward relevant issues and is a great opportunity to collaborate with Asian countries for development. The BFA has projected the future of Asia as a whole which would be prosperous, peaceful and stable with common development and strong collaborations. The Boao Forum is iconic in terms of its message and issues of Asian ideology. This also highlights the fact that Asians hold Asia most important above all. The BFA presents a message of peace and stability to the rest of the world.