The call for world leaders at the upcoming World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos to exercise “Responsive and Responsible Leadership” could not come at a better time. Expecting more than 2,500 global leaders in government, business and civil society, the meeting will focus on four critical leadership challenges for 2017 — Namely, re-imagining global cooperation, revitalising the global economy, reforming capitalism and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

For a developing nation like Malaysia, with a diverse population of 31.7 million people of different backgrounds and cultures with each community having their own specific challenges, Responsible and Responsive Leadership means ensuring long term inclusive and sustainable growth for its people by driving economic advancements through domestic and international strategic initiatives.

“Responsive and Responsible Leadership is about ensuring that all segments of society are included in our nation building efforts. It is about driving inclusive growth from a domestic and international point of view,” said Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia. “Despite trends in certain countries returning to more nationalistic roots, Malaysia is firmly committed to the idea that we live in a global community.”

“The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a good example of how small to medium sized countries working together have been able to transform themselves into a single market and production based with a combined population of 625 million and a GDP of USD2.43 trillion. That gives ASEAN considerable leveraging power and equal footing when negotiating with economies like Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to become an economic region with a total population of more than 3 billion people and a combined GDP of USD17.2 trillion.”

Recognising the opportunities and dangers that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings if not managed properly, Malaysia has rolled out a National Internet of Things (IoT) Blueprint to help guide the nation through this new paradigm shift and to maximise the advantages and ensure inclusive growth for all its communities. Among initiatives in driving the digital economy, new identified certified locations called Malaysia Digital Hubs will be established especially for the start-up community. In addition to this, plans are underway with Australia to develop a fintech ecosystem for the country.

“The World Economic Forum is an excellent platform for world leaders and experts to get together to exchange ideas and views, and more importantly, commit to the idea that we share this world as one community,” said Mohamed. “To move forward and drive meaningful inclusive sustainable growth for all, we need to do more than just align our interests. We need to align our values,” he concluded.