It has been acknowledged that regional collaboration is the key to unlock a resilient as well as sustainable economic integration and strengthen cooperation with the rest of the world. Many regional institutions have emerged to address common challenges and opportunities among neighbouring countries. A cohesive regional engagement would also provide a stronger voice at the international arena. African Union (AU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Arab League (AL), Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and European Union (EU) are among key regional entities in existence today.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional organisation in Asia that was established to promote economic cooperation between countries bordering the Bay of Bengal. As a member of SAARC, Bangladesh has taken major economic strides over the last decade. Today, it finds itself on the cusp of transformative growth, ready to make the step up to a middle-income nation. Yet, looming in the backdrop, lie the crosscurrents of protectionism and economic nationalism. Bangladesh needs to look beyond its existing economic partners to ensure its national development plans are on track.
The WIEF-SEACO Foundation Roundtable 2019 will address the challenges and prospects of Islamic finance and sukuk, insights into the future direction of halal industry as well as opportunities for infrastructure development. The final session at the Roundtable will introduce SEACO, a regional partnership model, which will link up some countries of the Bay of Bengal with selected ASEAN countries through various initiatives to strengthen economic cooperation among these nations.