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50 years on, Asean's potential still holds much to bank on

Its urbanisation rate, for example, is 48% vs wealthy countries' average of 80%.

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Rising urbanisation will drive demand for infrastructure investment, projected to exceed US$110 billion annually, spurring foreign direct investment into Asean. FDI inflows have risen 2.6 times to US$126 billion in 2015 from 2009.

ASEAN celebrates its 50th birthday this year amid rising protectionist sentiments globally. There is much debate and reflection on the impact of globalisation and the fate of regional blocs in recent times.

As the world becomes more connected through business, travel and technology, we

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