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Economist Gita Wirjawan Unveils Compelling Insights on the Sustainability Paradox in Developing Economies

By: Get News

Gita Wirjawan, esteemed economist and visiting scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) – Stanford University, has released a groundbreaking paper delving into the intricate challenges surrounding sustainability and economic development in developing nations. Titled “The Paradox of Sustainability: A Critique of Modern World’s Approach to Sustainable Development,” Gita Wirjawan’s paper offers profound insights into the complexities of achieving carbon neutrality and modernization in regions such as Southeast Asia and India.

Analysis begins with a stark examination of the electrification levels in developing countries, revealing a significant gap between current capacities and the benchmark for modern electrification. Countries like Indonesia and India (and most other Southeast Asia and Africa) are electrified only to around 1,000 kWh per capita, well below the "modern" threshold of 6,000 kWh per capita. Astonishingly, at current rates of capacity building, Indonesia alone would require a staggering 121 years to reach this level of electrification. 

“The challenges facing developing economies in achieving carbon neutrality are immense,” observes Gita Wirjawan. “ From inadequate infrastructure to limited fiscal spaces, these nations face formidable obstacles on both the demand and supply side of the energy equation.” 

Gita Wirjawan emphasizes the critical role of developed economies in facilitating the energy transition in developing regions. With over $100 trillion in liquidity fund at their disposal, developed economies can help increase investment in clean energy opportunities in developing economies to accelerate progress toward carbon neutrality.

“To advance carbon neutrality for all, developed economies can channel their substantial technological and financial resources into clean energy initiatives in developing regions,” urges Gita Wirjawan. “This collaboration is essential for overcoming the financial and technological challenges hindering sustainable development in Southeast Asia and beyond.” 

The paper also outlines key strategic building blocks for Southeast Asian countries to enhance their economic performance and foster a more sustainable future. Gita Wirjawan highlights the importance of investing in education to empower citizens with knowledge about environmental practices. By prioritizing education, these nations can not only enhance economic performance but also cultivate a more informed citizenry capable of understanding the implications of environmental practices. 

Furthermore, Gita Wijawan underscores the importance of nurturing a robust political culture conducive to meritocracy and collaboration. He acknowledges the region's diversity but emphasizes the need for governance structures that prioritize competence, integrity, and accountability. Such a shift, Gita Wirjawan argues, is essential for fostering institutional building and meaningful regional cooperation. 

Additionaly, Gita Wirjawan calls for enhanced funding capabilities to accelerate renewable energy development objectives in Southeast Asia. He stresses the necessity for governance, leadership, and collaboration to secure the required funding for electrification using renewable energy sources.

In addition to his visiting scholarship at Shorenstein APARC - Standford University, Gita Wirjawan is a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is also the host of the podcast “Endgame,” where he explores critical issues shaping the future of economies and societies. 

Gita Wirjawan’s paper offers a comprehensive analysis of the sustainable paradox not only as a critique of the current approach of the sustainable development but also presents actionable recommendations for policymakers, economists, and stakeholders worldwide. 

About Gita Wirjawan:

Gita Wirjawan is a distinguished economist, entrepreneur, and visiting scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC). With a focus on sustainability and nation-building in Southeast Asia, Wirjawan's research contributes invaluable insights to the discourse on global economic development. He is the chairman and founder of Ancora Group and Ancora Foundation, a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Sience and International Affairs and the host of the podcast "Endgame," where he explores pressing issues shaping the future of societies and economies.

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Contact Person: Gita Wirjawan
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Country: Indonesia

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