Strengthening Economic Ties First Global Business Forum ASEAN

The debut event will host notable speakers from both the UAE and the ASEAN region, as well as hold B2B meetings and discussions



Three UAE government ministers will join ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 10-member economic and political bloc at the first ever Global Business Forum ASEAN, which takes place at Expo 2020 Dubai from December 8 to 9.

Organised by the Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, GBF ASEAN will be held under the theme ‘The New Frontiers’. The high-level forum will explore the changing dynamics of ASEAN countries and examine opportunities to increase bilateral trade, business and investment ties between the two regions.

Representing the UAE at GBF ASEAN will be Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai; Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, and Dr Thani bin Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

The three UAE ministers will be addressing the event alongside Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dubai Chambers, and Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber.

Government ministers from the ASEAN region participating at the forum include Ramon Lopez, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, Republic of the Philippines; William Dar, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Republic of the Philippines; Fortunato De La Pena, Secretary, Secretary of Science and Technology; Vice Chairman, Philippine Space Council, The Philippines, Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General, ASEAN Secretariat; Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan, Director General, Islamic Tourism Centre; Prof Romano, Prodi President, Italy-ASEAN Association, Italy; Ayman Amin Sejiny, Chief Executive Officer, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Saudi Arabia; and Dr Brian Shegar, President, UAE-Singapore Business Council, Singapore

The UAE and ASEAN government representatives will join more than 40 speakers at the inaugural GBF ASEAN, which takes place on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai and feature a comprehensive programme of more than 25 panel discussions, presentations and workshops aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two regions.

“The line-up of high-calibre speakers reflects the strong commitment from the UAE and ASEAN countries in expanding economic cooperation and tapping into existing trade and investment synergies. There is vast potential to forge new partnerships between the UAE businesses and their ASEAN counterparts and we look forward to exploring that at the upcoming forum,” said Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber.

Buamim described GBF ASEAN as an ideal platform for the UAE businessmen to explore new investment opportunities emerging across promising ASEAN markets, adding that the forum is also an opportunity to showcase Dubai’s position as a global gateway that ASEAN-based companies can leverage to expand their reach.

High-level speakers will share their insights on a wide range of topics and issues including, islamic tourism, islamic finance, regional economic integration in the ASEAN region, future growth sectors and UAE-ASEAN trade synergies, among many other important trends reshaping economies in both regions.

GBF ASEAN is the newest edition to Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum series, which also includes GBF Africa and GBF Latin America. This is the second Global Business Forum that will take place in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai, for which Dubai Chamber is the Official Business Integration Partner.

Comments from Key GBF ASEAN speakers

Kwon Ping Ho,

Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree, Singapore

Why is leadership important in a time of change?

Human beings by nature find comfort in stability, which largely means the status quo. Change means uncertainty, which at minimum, disrupts and at maximum, can even destroy their livelihoods. At these moments, people need not just good managers to navigate the process of change, but leaders who can inspire people to aspire beyond themselves , their fears, doubts, and towards aspirations of a better life, and future for their loved ones.

William Dar, Secretary for Agriculture,

The Philippines

What are the main factors in securing an efficient food supply in ASEAN?

Food security is our overarching goal, second to public health concerns. The food security of our people during this pandemic has been, and will always be the paramount goal of the Philippines government.

Dr Ayesha Khanna,

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ADDO AI, Singapore

How has the Covid-19 pandemic shaped the future of the digital landscape in ASEAN?

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of enterprise companies from telecommunications to transport to education. At the same time, new competitors and superapp providers have emerged stronger, given their better user experience and ease of onboarding customers. Who will win the battle for ASEAN consumers will depend on who uses data and AI effectively and responsibly as fast as possible.

Mikko Perez,

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ayannah, The Philippines

How is the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the use of financial management solutions?

Covid has accelerated the process of digitisation of financial services across the planet. I believe this is a ‘once and for all’ transition from ‘analog’ to ‘digital’ and it is irreversible. Incumbent financial services providers have to embrace change to remain relevant. But being digital is not enough, incumbents and challengers alike have to deliver outstanding and differentiated value to customers to stay ahead.

Dr Brian Shegar, President, UAE-Singapore

Business Council, Singapore

What roles do regional hubs play in economic development?

Regional hubs play a pivotal role in the economic development of a broader region, and significantly facilitate economic integration within the hinterland served by the hubs. It is essential for hubs to have strong global connectivity in terms of trading, financial services, communications, maritime and airport infrastructure, ease of doing business, stable government and law and order. The hubs play a synergistic role in enhancing intra-regional trade and investments and international tourist traffic. Global companies attracted by these features will base their head offices in the hub to service their trading and investment footprint in the hinterland. Both Dubai and Singapore have excelled in their role as regional hubs for MENA and ASEAN respectively.

Mohammad Rachmat Kaimuddin,

Chief Executive Officer, Bukalapak, Indonesia

What role does GBF ASEAN play in bridging economic cooperation between the UAE and ASEAN?

The ASEAN GBP can open up better communications for business opportunities and bring new cross-border partnerships within the UAE and ASEAN, which will create a bigger impact in the regional and global economies, including Indonesia.

Dr Nuki Agya Utama,

Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Energy, Indonesia

What will the energy transition look like/ involve for ASEAN? What are the challenges ahead?

There are no silver bullets to solve energy transition issues in the region, albeit the abundantly available natural resources. The region should consider all viable primary energy supplies to provide secure and affordable energy for its people.


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