The ASEAN Committee in Oslo (ACO), composed of Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, visited Stavanger, Norway on 30 August to 1 September 2016 to promote economic opportunities in ASEAN and in its individual member countries, and explore other areas of ASEAN-Norway cooperation.
Both a city and a municipality, Stavanger is the administrative center of Rogaland county, and is the fourth largest municipality in Norway with a population of 130,000. From a small town with fishing and canning as the main industries, Stavanger‘s population and economy grew by leaps and bounds starting in the late 60s when oil was first discovered in the North Sea and became a key industry in Stavanger. It is now known as the Oil Capital of Norway, with some 40 international oil and gas companies headquartered there. Stavanger also prides itself in being an international city, with its residents from 181 countries.
The ACO met with the County Governor of Rogaland, the Mayor of Stavanger City, the Stavanger Chamber of Commerce, and officials of the University of Stavanger.
ACO briefed the local officials on the Committee, its joint activities, and its aim in having ASEAN presence increasingly felt in Norway. ACO highlighted the potential for business opportunities in the ASEAN region, which has a combined population and potential market of some 650 million.
While Stavanger has experienced an economic slowdown due to the oil price decline, its people recognize that innovation and entrepreneurship have become increasingly important for job and value creation. Stavanger is addressing the adverse effects of the economic downturn through diversification, retooling skills and competencies of the workforce and exploring other areas of strength beyond oil and gas, such as its agriculture, fisheries, knowledge/education and tourism sectors. Stavanger is also exploring means to fully harness the ocean’s unexplored potentials, and developing renewable wind and wave energy technologies.
Potential sectors for cooperation between ASEAN and Stavanger in the sectors of clean and renewable energy, aquaculture and education. ACO is also interested in boosting cultural and people-to-people exchange, and expressed interest in participating in Stavanger’s fairs and festivals. -end-