Philippines: Arroyo in Elite Company in Boao Forum

Apr. 19, 2007

MANILA – When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attends the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) slated this weekend in Chinas southernmost island province of Hainan, she will be in elite company.

More than 200 senior government officials and 600 top businessmen from around the world, including the wealthiest of them all, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, are among those who have confirmed their attendance to the April 20-22 forum which this year will look for new approaches and ideas for sustainable economic development in Asia.

BFA is a non-governmental, non-profit international organization modelled after the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Founded by China and 26 Australasian states in February 2001, it is held annually in the tropical seaside town of Boao as a high-level forum for governments, businesses, experts and scholars. The focus of discussion is economics, the society, and the environment.

President Arroyo will be among an array of speakers who also include Gates, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, and Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus. They are expected to discuss the emerging opportunities and accompanying challenges facing Asia now and in the future.

The reputation of the Boao Forum has been favorably compared to the Davos Forum, named after a Swiss town, where the World Economic Forum originated. President Arroyo also attended this forum last January, along with other world leaders and top corporate business executives.

This year’s BFA theme is “Asia Winning in Today’s Global Economy — Innovation and Sustainable Development.”

Discussions will include such heavyweight topics as the integration of the Middle East and South Asia subcontinents into the Asian economy, and the balanced development of China, India and other Asian nations.

There will also be workshops on energy, resources, telecommunications, financial services, innovative industries, corporate social responsibilities and environmental protection. (OPS)

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