The opportunities for greater engagement and exchange between Africa and Asia are numerous and can lead to mutual benefit for the regions. This was key-takeaway from Africa-Asia roundtable held at Asia Centre on 5th October 2017.
Bandung Revisited: Africa-Asia Relations in the 21st Century was convened in partnership with Stenden University Thailand and attracted a diverse audience of over 30 including members of the African diaspora in Thailand.
H.E Ambassador Geoff Doidge, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa to the Kingdom of Thailand, opened the event by looking back at the contributions of the 1954 Bandung Afro-Asian conference, which championed the cause of freedom in Africa as colonial empires waned after World War II. The Ambassador called for the regions to rekindle the Bandung spirit of mutual cooperation and peaceful coexistence in addressing contemporary development and security challenges.
Dr. Sarut Wittayarungruangsri from Bolliger & Company (Thailand) Ltd then provided an economist perspective on Africa-Asia relations, noting opportunities for collaboration, technological transfer and increasing intra and inter regional trade and investment.
Disaster Management expert, Mrs Rene Oosthuizen from Stenden University South Africa provided insight on the lessons that Asia might learn from Africa in the areas of disaster preparedness and protecting vulnerable communities.
Rounding up the discussion was Dr. Roland Amoussou-Guenou of Vovan & Associates Bangkok who pointed to the greater level of regional integration in Africa and lessons and opportunities for the regions.
The Q&A session was moderated by Ms. Chiedza Mutsaka Skyum, a lecturer from Stenden University Thailand and also an Asia Centre Associate, sparked conversations on the role of China and the African nations.
With the low level of awareness and engagement on Africa-Asia relations in this region, Asia Centre’s roundtable discussion help to this bring issue into the public domain. Asia Centre looks forward to working with Stenden University Thailand and engaging in African issues as they relate to Asia.