Finance Ministers of the member-countries of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) grouping said the growing cooperation between them could generate an incremental $70 billion in GDP and additional employment of 20 million annually by 2025.
The joint statement, made in Delhi following a meeting of the Finance Ministers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, also welcomed Myanmar into the coalition.
“We envision SASEC to be powering Asia in the 21st century,” the joint statement said. “We will accelerate and sustain the growth momentum of recent years by unlocking the hitherto untapped potential of the subregion’s natural resources, industry and infrastructure through subregional cooperation. “We believe that these synergies can generate annually, an estimated $70 billion in incremental GDP and 20 million in incremental aggregate employment by 2025,” the statement said.
To do this, the countries will leverage natural resource-based industries by tapping into latent industrial demand in the subregion and promote subregional industry- to-industry links to develop regional value chains and enhance the area’s competitiveness.
The Finance Ministers also committed to enhance the connectivity within the member countries and between them to improve productivity.
“We welcome Myanmar, which recently joined the SASEC family. We recognise Myanmar’s important role in linking South Asia, and Southeast and East Asia–a vital imperative in boosting economic activity in Asia in this time of subdued global growth,” the statement said.
The Finance Ministers also reflected on the achievements of the grouping and the member-countries over the last 16 years.