KUALA LUMPUR – New Zealand will invest over NZ$200 million in ASEAN over the next three years, focusing on capacity building for the people in the region.
Prime Minister John Key said the country’s formal relationship with ASEAN would be upgraded from a comprehensive to strategic partnership.
“The NZ$200 million investment is to focus on capacity building for the region’s people and creating links between our young leaders and emerging entrepreneurs, the people to build on the ties that we have forged over the past 40 years.
“We welcome an agreement to work more closely with ASEAN to boost trade and investment,” he said at the 40th ASEAN-NZ Commemorative Summit, which was also attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and ASEAN leaders.
New Zealand’s development assistance programme in the ASEAN region would be the second largest after the Pacific.
Key said the strategic partnership would also support ASEAN and New Zealand’s economic engagement, achieve common regional integration of objectives and support the regional groupings drive to close the development gap.
It will give focus to New Zealand’s expertise in agriculture and trade.
“ASEAN, home to 625 million people with a gross domestic product expected to grow to US$5.2 trillion by 2030, presents significant opportunities for New Zealand and in recent years, we have seen strong growth in trade.
“We are also working closely together on shared political and security challenges, as well as improving the ability of ASEAN member states to respond to natural disasters. Our agreement means we will work more closely on these issues,” Keys highlighted. – BERNAMA