Towards inclusive and sustainable growth of South Asia

Guest post by Tahmina Ashafique, WB-SAES Youth Delegate from Bangladesh


A group of young men clad in traditional Sri Lankan attire danced inside the Oak room, which was followed by traditional lighting of a unity candle- and this marked the inauguration of the Sixth South Asian Economic Summit this year. Held in Cinnamon Grand in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the summit has brought together a wide range of stakeholders from the eight SAARC countries. The stakeholders consist of representatives from key think tanks, academic institutions, policy institutes, and international agencies. Perhaps the key highlight of this summit is the inclusion of a group of young leaders who will be engaged in analysis and dissemination of the key discussions. This is certainly a move away from the traditional closed-door civil society talks and opens up the platform for engagement of young leaders in these cooperation initiatives.

The summit is most relevant at a time when there is an urgent need for increased synergies among the South Asian countries. A region that is thriving and growing at the back drop of its rich culture, traditions, economic activities and overall increased growth, faces numerous challenges. Arenas such as poverty, gender parity, food security, climate change, and various other factors remain to be areas that need to be focused upon in a more strategic and sustained manner.

It is within this context, that the summit aims to focus on what they call “The BIG FOUR”. This includes harnessing human capital potential, managing water resources, food security and climate change, addressing intra-country growth disparities, and finally building competitiveness of the private sector.
In the next three days, attempts will be made to highlight the significance of the above and discuss ways for positioning the region to achieve sustained and inclusive growth in the future.

Stay tuned with us, as we go through these thematic areas and provide you with updates, questions and provide you with some food for thought.