SAES XII Calls on South Asia to Act on the Fourth Industrial Revolution Urgently

26 – 27 September 2019
The Hilton Colombo, Sri Lanka

Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), Dushni Weerakoon, called on South Asia to act with urgency to make use of the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

“We need to understand what the intersection of technology, economics and politics means for a diversity of issues from growth, equity to privacy and ethics in South Asia,” she noted.

Dr. Weerakoon made these remarks, inaugurating the 12th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XII) in Colombo on 26 – 27 September 2019. The SAES XII was organised by the IPS on the theme ‘Shaping South Asia’s Future in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.’

Launched in 2008, the Summit has provided a regional platform for discussing and debating socio-economic challenges facing the region and to foster and develop regional integration and co-operation among the South Asian countries.

Despite being the fastest growing region in the world, South Asia is faced with challenges such as weak public finances, inadequate investment in the public sector, income inequality, global volatility, and shifting geopolitical risks etc.

The SAES XII is the first initiative at the regional level to explore some of these common issues facing South Asia through the lens of the 4IR.

“Unfortunately, the SAARC official processes have come to a grinding halt, so those who engage in public policy should come together in forums like these to learn from each other and bring emerging challenges to the attention of policymakers” Dr. Weerakoon highlighted.

The occasion also marked the release of a new publication, ‘Managing domestic and international challenges and opportunities in post-conflict development: Lessons from Sri Lanka’.

Edited by Dr. Weerakoon and Sisira Jayasuriya and published by Springer, the book contains contributions by locally and internationally eminent Sri Lankan economists, and was released in memory of IPS’ former Executive Director, the late Dr. Saman Kelegama.

Paying tribute to Dr. Kelegama’s legacy, the publication draws lessons from the story of Sri Lanka’s post-conflict development in the context of a struggle for sociopolitical reconciliation, a turbulent world economy and difficult internal and external political challenges. The book will be of interest to researchers, policymakers and development.

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