Rejuvenating South Asia: Toward New Sources of Competitiveness

Date:   Sat Oct 10, 2020 - Sat Oct 10, 2020






Webinar on

Rejuvenating South Asia:

Toward New Sources of Competitiveness

(Part I)

Concept Note

South Asia still remains one of the most economically least integrated regions. 
The COVID 19 pandemic has greatly impacted the economy of all nations in South Asia, posed new challenges , but also given an opportunity to think new.  Going beyond the politics of the region, economics can be a driving factor for this.  The first of this two part  webinar series on Rejuvenating South Asia  will bring together a expert panel of economics address issues on the theme : Toward New Sources of Competitiveness . It will address issues such as : 


  • New trade opportunities (both goods and services) in South Asia post-Covid.
  • What role trade facilitation and connectivity can play in triggering the regional integration? 
  • Are South Asian countries adequately dealing with types of trade barriers? What can be done in removing the barriers post Covid? 
  • With additional trade costs (due to Covid), can South Asian exports compete globally?
  • What would be the likely value chain scenario in post-Covid:  technology- or labour- intensive? 
  • Fears of second wave, new lockdowns, public anxiety will continue to guide South Asia's spending. Will vaccines make a difference? Any scope of regional cooperation here? 
  • Stimulus matters, but how long? What are the current experiences of South Asian countries?
  • How to get back 'lost economy'? Approx. US$ 1 trillion at current price was lost in the 1st half of 2020 in South Asia.
  • How to forge a stronger post-pandemic South Asia? 
  • South Asia must protect the Interests of landlocked countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal - how to compensate their losses? 
  • Does SAFTA or SATIS matter in this changing scenario? Reactivating SAFTA or something new to drive the regional cooperation and integration? 
  • Why so many bilateral did not pick up (e.g. India-Sri Lanka ETCA)? 
  • Several unending social challenges - starvation, rise in poverty and inequality, food security, malnutrition, health diseases, etc. in this Covid time. What can be done (regionally) to protect South Asia's vulnerable?
  • Labour relation has become bad to worse in South Asia, particularly women workers. What can be done? Any scope of regional cooperation in this particular aspect? 
  • Is trade a panacea for social sector development in South Asia this uncertain time? 
  • Given high fears, will FDI get back to normal in South Asia? 
  • What are the new investment opportunities and what kind of regional agreement (institution) needed in this new normal? 
  • What are new brands in South Asia that can potentially drive regional integration? 


 Webinar on

Rejuvenating South Asia:

Toward New Sources of Competitiveness

(Part I)


10 October 2020; 6 pm – 8 pm IST


5.30 – 6.00 pm:           Registration


6.00 – 6.05 pm:           Welcome By

                                    Mr Sabyasachi Dutta

                                    Executive Director, Asian Confluence


6.05 – 6.15 pm:           Chair’s Remarks

Dr Sanjay Kathuria

Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Policy Research (CPR) & Former Lead Economist, the World Bank


6.15 – 6.30 pm:           Special Remarks By

Mr Rajat Nag

Member, Governing Board, Asian Confluence & Former Managing Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB)


Panel Discussion


6.30 – 6.40 pm:           Dr Nisha Taneja

Professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)


6.40 - 6.50 pm:           Dr Selim Raihan

                                    Executive Director, SANEM and Professor, Dhaka University


6.50 – 7.00 pm:           Dr Rajan Ratna

Economic Affairs Officer, UNESCAP Sub-regional Office for South and South West Asia Office (SSWA)


7.00 – 7.10 pm:           Dr Ganeshan Wignaraja

Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI), Colombo


7.10 – 7.20 pm:           Prof. Nitya Nanda

Director, Council for Social Development (CSD)


7.20 – 7.30 pm:           Mr Afaq Hussian

Director, Bureau of Research on Industry & Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF)


7.30 – 7.50 pm:           Q&A


7.50 – 8.00 pm:           Closing Remarks by Chair and End of the Webinar

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