Your Excellency Governor of Gangwon Province, Moon-Soon Choi,
Your Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Al Marhum Sultan Idris Shah
Permaisuri of the State of Johor, Malaysia,
Dato’ Dr Norraesah Mohamad,
Dr Han Moo-Kyung,
Excellencies, distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Let me begin by saying what a pleasure it is for me to welcome all of you to the WIEF Businesswomen Forum in this beautiful resort of Gangneung City.
I am happy that our gathering here today signifies three very important milestones.
The first milestone is about WIEF’s partnership with the government of the Province of Gangwon. We are delighted to work closely again with the Governor and his dedicated team to organise this forum.
To me personally, I feel that the WIEF-Gangwon partnership means more than just business. It also represents hopes and possibilities by demonstrating to the world that people of different cultures and backgrounds – Muslim and non-Muslims – are able to work together in harmony towards achieving our common goals of economic empowerment for all. The second milestone is that this forum serves as an appropriate empowerment platform for businesswomen.
I say this because businesswomen are fast emerging to be a huge impact on the world economy. I need to remind you through that in spite of that, businesswomen in many regions today still face enormous challenges in a wide variety of areas – from acceptance to access to finance and resources.
We have just listened to two leading businesswomen and they do represent the aspiratons of businesswomen world wide. I hope that this businesswomen forum would be able to spend time exchanging views and ideas to meet these particular challenges.
Our third milestone is that, we are putting increased commitment in the creative industry. Not many people know this – that apart from business and economics, WIEF recognises the power of the creative and cultural sectors in our global economy and the role that art, culture and creativity play in economic empowerment across the globe.
In recent years, the “Creative Economy” has become a buzzword. Available data demonstrates that the global market value of the creative economy is approximately US$1.6 trillion. Within the last few years, many nations have formally adopted the concept of creative economy in their economic agenda. The Republic of Korea for instance has adopted creative economy as far back as 2013 to boost the domestic economy and create jobs in the country.
Indonesia as another example has appointed a specific minister to handle matters dealing with creative economy. I hope that Korea and Indonesia are worthwhile examples here for other countries to emulate.
In this new era of creative economy, I am happy to note a profound societal shift in thinking taking place. Many are calling it the “values revolution”. It is evident that there is a renewed interest in culture and heritage, and a willingness to meaningfully integrate them into business and everyday life.
Innovation is another current buzzword. To emphasize this – 15 years ago, the top 5 public listed companies in the world are general electric, Exxonmobil, CITI, Walmart, and Microsoft. In 2016, they are replaced by Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Significantly, they are all technology companies in the forefront of innovation. It is obvious that it is no longer the era of finance, oil and gas or real estate.
The message I am trying to put forward before you thus is, for businesswomen to advance, they must be able to effectively engage themselves in the creative economy.
Before I conclude, let me place on record our sincere appreciation to governor Choi and his excellent team for the full support accorded to the WIEF in organising this forum.
Also speaking as a Malaysian, I would like in particular to welcome and thank Her Royal Highness Permaisuri of Johor for her gracious presence here today. I am sure that your contribution would provide useful depth and respective to the discussions within these two days.
I wish you all a productive forum.