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Skyline 2 - Photo:Photo credit: Wnjay from Getty Images
Photo credit: Wnjay from Getty Images

Southeast-Asia during COVID-19 – risks and opportunities

How did Southeast-Asia handle COVID-19? What are the key risks and opportunities in Singapore and ASEAN? These questions were posed to Ambassadors and other Team Norway members by SNCC.

| Event Summary & Recordings: Economy

On 15 April. Singapore Norway Chamber of Commerce (SNCC) invited its members to a webinar about developments and opportunities in one of the busiest business regions in the world. They wanted to know how the economies in Singapore and the rest of ASEAN have coped with the pandemic, and how Norwegian businesses have fared. 

To start the webinar off, Ambassador of Norway to ASEAN, Morten Høglund. who provided an update on the political and economic situation in ASEAN, and on Norway’s partnership agreement with ASEAN. 

This was followed by Ambassador of Norway to Singapore, Anita Nergaard, who focused on Singapore and its role as a regional hub. She made three main points. Firstly, Singapore has kept a handle on the pandemic with strict rules and regulations. These restrictions are expected to stay in place until many more people are vaccinated. In the broader region, the pandemic will be a feature for several years going forward. Secondly, the pandemic has had enormous impact on the economies in the region. For Singapore, his has resulted in an increased drive for transformation to make sure the country is “future-ready”. Thirdly, the pandemic might strengthen the global shift in power to Asia-Pacific, while geopolitical tensions is set to continue. Businesses will need to navigate a more fraught landscape. Ambassador Nergaard also spoke to Singapore’s future as a business hub for the region. 

From Innovation Norway, Mr Pål Kastmann informed about the key priorities and sectors we work with on behalf of Norwegian businesses in Singapore. 

From the Norwegian Business Association Singapore (NBAS), President Leonard Stornes presented NBAS’s priorities. The Norwegian business community in Singapore maintained stability in regards to the number of Norwegian owned business established here during the covid crisis. In fact, several new companies with Norwegian ownership established themselves in Singapore during the pandemic. Singapore’s handling of C19 together with the government’s support to the business community were clear pull factors, as Singapore offers stability and an ambitious strategic shift towards renewables, adopting new technologies and focus on green finance. Herein lies opportunities for established and new market entrants in Singapore to position their companies for the financial bounce back that is expected once the society and countries in the region start re- opening. 

The programme and a recording of the event is available.