The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) highlighted that indicators on gender equality and trade openness have improved in the region.
On the one hand, the new indicator on freedom of movement (OECD-SIGI) showed that most APEC economies grant women the same rights as men to apply for ID cards and passports, as well as to travel across from the borders, which could mean higher paying job or business opportunities for women.
On the other hand, in terms of access to international markets, there is an increase in trade openness measured by the freedom of international trade, which went from 78.1 index points in 2008 to 84.3 in 2020.
This is complemented by data showing that business activity in the region is distributed among many companies.
A competitive and open business environment encourages entrepreneurship and this, in turn, bodes well for the APEC economy, driven by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), most of which are owned or operated by women. run by women.
Another key component of a business-friendly environment is the quality of infrastructure, both physical and digital.
From APEC’s perspective, reliable and durable infrastructures drive connectivity, ensuring the flow of products and services across borders, connecting businesses with consumers, and expanding reach and market share.
Greater market share, he believes, will generate higher profits, allowing companies to expand and create more jobs for the economy as a whole.
In APEC, the overall infrastructure quality index rose to a score of 4.8 (on a scale of 1-7, 7 as ideal) based on the latest data available in 2017 from 4.6 in 2008.
This could be improved, especially by focusing on improving digital infrastructures to be able to adapt to rapid technological changes and post-Covid-19 requirements for more online solutions rather than head-on interactions.