Former Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank Rajat Nag: Belt and Road and Open Regionalism Work Together to Meet Seven Challenges of Asian Development

On the evening of April 5, 2017, Rajat Nag,Former Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank, adistinguished professor of the Emerging Markets Institute, Beijing Normal University, delivered a speech "The 21st Century: the Century of Asia?" He expressed his views on the future development of Asian economy and regional cooperation in Asia, and answered questions from Chinese and foreign scholars and students, and reporters.

This is the sixth lecture of the Jingshi Belt and Road Lecture Series, which is an important academic platform for Belt and Road research.. Professor Hu Biliang, Dean of Emerging Markets Institute and director of the Belt and Road Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, attended and presided over the lecture. He introduced Professor Rajat Nag's academic career and his political career. He emphasized  that the Jingshi Belt and Road Lecture Series is dedicated to inviting experts, scholars, government officials, and entrepreneurs who have made outstanding contributions to the research and construction of the Belt and Road, to share their experiences on this platform, and to propel the theoretical development and innovative construction of the Belt and Road and advance the healthy development of the Belt and Road. Asia is an important impetus for global economic growth. Thus, how to maintain the sustainable development of Asia is  importance not only to Asia itself, but also to the future development of the world.

The speech "The 21st Century: the Century of Asia?" focused on the challenges and problems for the future development of Asia. " Many people think the 21st century is the century of Asia, but my personal judgment is that there is both possibility and uncertainty," Professor Rajat Nag said in his speech. He then elaborated on the challenges for Asia in the new century from seven aspects: widening income gaps, ageing populations, infrastructure deficits, deepening the reform of financial sector, regional cooperation, governance, and environmental issues.

Speaking of how to address the challenges for Asia's future development at the level of regional cooperation, Professor Rajat Nag  mentioned the significance of "open regionalism": "Asia needs to pursue an 'open regionalism', that is, an evolving, market-oriented bottom-up development strategy supported by the institutional framework dedicated to promoting free trade and investment across Asia”.

"To promote the development of regional cooperation in Asia, we must insist two key principles - openness and transparency. Asia's embrace of 'open regionalism' means that instead of regional closure, it needs to strengthen our own institutions while complying with international norms to ensure the common prosperity and development of Asia and the global economy. "Professor Rajat Nag pointed out.

Professor Rajat Nag also further explained and elaborated on other issues of concern to scholars and students attending the lecture.