Kuwait to create Asian development fund
by To Hang
KUWAIT (VNS)— The Amir of Kuwait announced plans for a US$2 billion fund to finance projects in non-Arab Asian countries yesterday, as leaders from 32 Asian nations gathered in Kuwait City for the first Asian Co-operation Dialogue summit.
Representatives of 32 Asian nations put their heads together to further promote regional economic co-operation. -- Photo courtesy of ACD organising committee.
Established to discuss measures for promoting economic and trade cooperation in the region, Sheikh Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah kicked off proceeding by unveiling plans for the fund, which Kuwait will contribute $300 million towards.
As well as non-Arab Asian development, the Asian Development Bank proposed fund will also finance projects that contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Addressing the opening ceremony at the Bayan Palace, the Amir of Kuwait emphasised the need to create an investment-friendly environment in the continent.
He called for promp enactment of the necessary legislation to promote such an environment to stimulate intra-regional trade between Asian countries.
He put particularly focus on improving transport and communication as a means of increasing the exchange of goods and services.
The Amir also urged participating countries to strive towards improving living standards for people in the continent.
"Accelerating population growth in our continent, which accounts for 60 per cent of the world total, places a burden on our development plans," said the Amir.
"This requires us to work without delay to provide work opportunities and job security to achieve economic integration between our countries."
As the country coordinator of the forum, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also mentioned the importance of maintaining economic links between member countries, particularly in times of economic downturn.
We need to create new routes in Asia to enhance trade and investment in the region, she said.
Meanwhile, the Arab League's Secretary General Nabi Al-Arabi confirmed Arab nations form part of the Asian continent, adding that there are "strategic " interests to foster.
Yesterday, participants also discussed other aspects of cooperation including raising the quality of healthcare, education, human resource mobilisation and environment.
Before closing today, the summit is scheduled to approve a 22-article statement which tackles various aspects of cooperation among ACD member states. This is expected to place solid foundations for joint ventures, enhancing trade exchange among Asian countries as well as commercial and trade cooperation between Arab nations and the rest of Asia.
The summit also attracted roughly 3,000 delegates, including economists and researchers from across the continent.
Launched in Thailand 10 years ago,the ACD steadily evolved from 18 founding countries to 32, representing every sub-region of the continent. The dialogue covers 20 areas of cooperation from economic to social, cultural, educational and technological advancement.
Viet Nam has been a member since 2002 and is this year represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh. — VNS