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The Future of Asia 2012

ASEAN Must Prepare For Further Globalization: World Bank Director

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs to prepare for both the benefits and problems that further globalization will bring, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Thursday at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo.

Sri Mulyani said that while ASEAN still has a long way to go to achieve full and sustainable prosperity, its current integration gives it an edge over many other areas of the world.

"Within ASEAN, we have a divide between the first five members and new countries that have entered the community," she said. "But the region is connected. Brazil and Peru are more connected to China than they are each other. ASEAN enjoys a connectivity that can create an environment for opportunity."

However, Sri Mulyani pointed out that the more vulnerable ASEAN countries still had a lot of work to do if they want to reap the benefits of globalization.

"In order for ASEAN to benefit from being together, the countries need to do a lot of homework domestically," the director said. "They need to have a good financial structure, a healthy agricultural structure, and to be able to deal with urbanization."

Sri Mulyani suggested that the region would need to cooperate more closely to overcome future challenges posed by such issues such as natural resource shortages, financial crises and environmental damage.

She also said there was a need to improve international institutions to meet these future challenges. "The global economy today shows us that interconnectivity is becoming more and more real. And it has upsides, but there are a lot of risks. We don't have the global governance to deal with this," she said.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.