Discover our latest IR Global member publication featuring IR Global members from across Asia-Pacific, The Middle East & Africa.
APAC and Africa are diverse and multifaceted regions. APAC is set to contribute 70% of global growth whilst Africa is showing remarkable resilience in many sectors. We'll learn from our members what this means for those looking to do business in these regions.
Within this publication you will hear from 19 of our members throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East & Africa, discussing the important updates and opportunities available in their jurisdictions. Our member firms featured retain a global support network across 165+ jurisdictions via their IR Global membership, sharing a common vision of working collaboratively to achieve unrivalled results for their clients.
APAC has recently been described by the IMF as a "bright spot in a slowing global economy".
It is forecast to be the fastest-growing region in the world economy in 2023, with the IMF estimating that it will contribute 70% of global growth throughout the course of the year. China and India alone are set to contribute more than half of overall global growth, while the likes of Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines are returning to robust pre-pandemic growth.
It's an area of great opportunities, but it's also one of significant disparity. Divergence between its most advanced economies and developing markets continues to deepen, fuelled by a combination of unequal post-pandemic recovery and the ongoing impact of global geopolitical issues.
Governments across the region are taking action to further strengthen economic growth through cross-border trade, with accommodative policies and reforms emerging to fuel growth. M&A across the area slowed during and immediately following the pandemic, but as businesses across the region look to new opportunities to expand, cross-border M&A is back on the rise, with analysts expecting a noticeable increase in deal-making in the latter half of 2023 and beyond. India has overtaken both Japan and South Korea to become the second-largest investment destination in terms of deal value and has been reforming its laws to facilitate further investment.
APAC's economic strength is closely linked to technology, with the likes of South Korea, Singapore and the Taiwan Province of China representing major players in the global technology manufacturing market. While export of technology products has been dampened by slow international trade and raw materials shortages, manufacturing remains a core growth factor for the region, and is expected to see an uplift as external demand improves.
APAC is also the fastest-growing AI market in the world, with countries including China, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore all announcing multi-million-dollar AI strategies to both drive AI and regulate its deployment – an area where many other established economies continue to lag behind. Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), for example, is a government agency tasked solely with enforcing the city state's data privacy laws.
In Australia, Thailand and Indonesia, policy makers are in the process of creating initiatives to boost the adoption of AI in certain sectors. For businesses, this incoming regulation and focussed growth could present interesting commercial opportunities in this area, particularly for those looking to adopt AI as part of their global business strategy.
Within this technological landscape, data protection and privacy are naturally vital concerns. The APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System was established to ensure that data privacy is protected across borders, with member states committing to comply with internationally-recognised standards, especially in the case of large cross-border data transactions. It's a step towards creating a robust multi-national digital landscape in which to do business, which also ensures that regulatory differences between jurisdictions don't block commercial opportunities between countries.
Despite an expected slowdown in economic growth this year, Africa is predicted to rebound strongly in 2024. Digging deeper, however, we can see a picture of a remarkably more resilient Africa. While resource exports still account for significant proportions of GDP growth south of the Sahara, service sector growth is, at least in part, a reflection of an increasingly business-friendly legal landscape, particularly in the territories concerned in this publication. Whether it's shareholders' pacts being recognised in multiple territories under OHADA law, or South Africa inspiring commercial confidence with its robust arbitration sector, harmonisation of legal frameworks with globally-familiar standards is enabling investors to conduct transnational activity more easily than ever.
With so much cross-border trade into and flowing from these regions, understanding litigation and arbitration differences between these countries, and how they impact both digital and physical trade, is essential to successfully doing business here. In this publication, IR Global members across APAC and Africa share their expertise and insight into these complex regions that carry vast potential. With topics ranging from how foreign arbitration is recognised in certain jurisdictions to ensuring effective governance when doing business, members cover a broad range of topics on both commercial and personal issues, providing unique first-hand insight into the multifaceted commercial landscape of these regions.
View and download the full publication here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.