Driving through the capital city of Vientiane, its apparent that in the past five years, the country has stepped up its globalization game. With investors from all over the globe eager to invest in the country’s vast lands and untapped resources, Laos is on the bullet train towards worldwide integration.
Due to countries becoming increasingly interconnected, globalization is inevitable. Globalization signifies the free movement of goods, capital, services, people, technology and information. And though it presents nations with more opportunities to expand their economies with increased trade and cultural exchanges, it also comes with its own challenges.
Themed “Globalism at a crossroads – Asia’s next move”, the 23rd International Conference on the Future of Asia commenced in Tokyo last week, where Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith described globalization as “an expansion of trade and investment cooperation among nations, and the use of modern technology in enhancing our relationship and cooperation for mutual benefit among countries”.
Asia in particular has witnessed globalization quickly spread, broadened and deepened. Newly emerging economies, including China and India have experienced rapid and sustained economic growth, which has sprung hundreds of millions of people from poverty, resulting in a shift in policy formulation blanketing a wider scope.
Most analysts believe that our world is entering a new era of quality development and the 4th Industrial Revolution has emerged.
Globalization opens up opportunities to enhance connectivity between countries and across regions and applying new technology to facilitate intra-regional and international trade and investment including the fast movement of foreign direct investment.
PM Thongloun indicated that cooperation in the era of globalization has not only presented economic benefits, but has also created a vital platform for addressing and contributing to the maintenance of peace and security regionally and globally.
That’s because in the era of globalization, a problem in one country, affects another country in the same region, which could then potentially impact another region. When a nation faces a crisis, despite the size or wealth of that nation, it requires a united effort by all to address and resolve the crisis.
Like other countries, Laos is benefiting from regional economic integration, enabling its economy to grow constantly by generating more job opportunities and revenue for local people.
However, despite so many opportunities, globalization also totes with it numerous challenges both at the regional and global levels. For example, a development gap that results in imbalances in the capacity to access and reap benefits from globalization is imminent.
Many countries have experienced severe trade deficits and are drowning in debt. Against this backdrop, globalization has also led to an unequal distribution of wealth and development across different regions. As a result, some have gained while others have lost.