Hopes are rising that a COVID-19 vaccine will release Southeast Asian economies from the strangleholds imposed by the pandemic and enable some economic growth over the coming 12 months.
David Totten, managing director of Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC), is optimistic for the longer term but tells Luke Hunt the short and medium term will be bumpy, amid disparities between rich and poorer countries over the rollout of the vaccines.
Totten studied in Germany and the U.K. and worked in Russia and Central Asia during the 1990s before heading back to Europe and Britain. Following work in software development, he landed in Cambodia as a volunteer working in rural development in 2008.
EMC was founded in 2004 in Cambodia before expanding into Laos in 2007, and then Myanmar five years later. The firm works throughout ASEAN, and occasionally further afield, most recently in Gaza, Rwanda, and China.
It now has about 45 full time consultants working for development partners, foreign investors and domestic firms focusing on market systems development, feasibility studies, market research and investment analysis.
Luke Hunt can be followed on Twitter @lukeanthonyhunt