Khazanah Megatrends Forum launched on sustainable growth

by SHAUQI WAHAB / pic source:

KHAZANAH Nasional Bhd (KNB) has launched the 18th Khazanah Megatrends Forum (KMF) 2023 today, with the aim to orchestrate a development bargain for sustainable growth. 

KNB MD Datuk Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir said the forum is important for Malaysia’s growth in terms of economy and societal values.

He believed that things are beginning to look up as the country weathers the effects of the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and more.

This year’s theme “Our Next Episode” signifies KNB’s readiness to move to the next stage of Malaysia’s economic development, yet Amirul Feisal stressed that it would not be possible if people are divided.

KMF’s concept paper discusses the concept of development bargain based on the book “Gambling and development: Why some countries win and others lose” by Belgian-British economist Stefan Dercon, who was also present at the forum.

According to the book, the development of a certain country is heavily influenced by those in authority or power for a given government, a political party in power may have different priorities that are not aligned to economic development.

The concept paper also discusses how Malaysia can take advantage of recovery tailwinds and chart its own trajectory to growth by building a new development bargain.

“It is impossible to separate economics and politics anywhere in the world,” Amirul Feisal commented on the reality of a nation’s economic development after reading the book.

He later explained that in a development bargain, various groups need to come to some agreement in order to move forward.

This means that all economic development issues that Malaysia is currently facing can only be dealt with by the government engaging with a whole host of stakeholders.

Amirul Feisal said sometimes issues such as military might and extraction of resources trumps the importance of country development, hence orchestrating a development bargain towards sustainable growth is needed.

For future economic development, KNB created the “Advancing Malaysia” strategic goal of ensuring value creation in companies where it has large shareholdings.

Besides that, it wants to invest strategically in solving issues that Malaysia is facing via its impact fund which produces strong risk-adjusted returns from global investment operations, and delivers societal value to netizens.

Amirul Feisal pointed out that the effort can be realised by collaborations between private companies, the government, regulators, fund managers, foundations, non-governmental organisations, academia, and more.

“For the take-off through growth and development, elites with power and influence in poor countries must be committed to growth and development and be willing to make economic and political choices like this,” Dercon said.

Amirul Feisal also talked about the recent launch of Khazanah Impact Innovation Challenge (KIIC) with the theme ‘Tackling the climate challenge for Malaysia’s food security’ which aims to discover and support new businesses in solving Malaysia’s key challenges.

A total of 29 speakers from various countries and backgrounds shared their insights and ideas at KMF 2023, examining the theme from the perspectives of markets, firms, society, and people.

Besides Dercon, the panel also included Chengwei Capital and founder Dr Eric Li; QuantumBlack Labs senior partner and global leader Matt Fitzpatrick; and Yinson Holdings Bhd group CEO Lim Chern Yuan.