ISWC 2024: Silver Economy Will Be Consolidated, Holistic strategy towards a meaningful retirement

ISWC 2024: Silver Economy Will Be Consolidated, Holistic strategy towards a meaningful retirement

KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s International Social Welfare Conference (ISWC) focused on the issue of population aging, including improvements to the national pension and retirement system.

Themed “Ageing and Longevity: Towards a Meaningful Retirement,”  this two-day annual conference discussed a number of important topics, including income security in old age, mental well-being, and healthier lifestyles for seniors.

According to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a holistic approach needs to be taken given that the world is currently experiencing a demographic shift towards an aging population.

He explained that Malaysia is expected to become an old country by 2043, where 14 percent of the population consists of people aged 65 and above.

“Unprecedented changes will undoubtedly have a major impact on society, the economy, and politics around the world.

“Nevertheless, it is important to realize that one of the main drivers behind the aging world is the increase in life expectancy due to advances in health care and improvements in general well-being,” he said when speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the ISWC Conference in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister also said that the government will focus on the silver economy in the face of the growing elderly population.

“It is to build infrastructure and spark innovation in areas such as technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to enable healthy and active ageing,” he said during a session of the International Social Welfare Conference (ISWC) 2024 in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, said ISWC 2024 is a step to create a social protection system for the well-being of Malaysians in line with Malaysia’s transition towards the status of an old country.

“Although the increase in life expectancy is one of the indicators of a country’s progress, this demographic change will also create challenges for Malaysian society, especially in the fields of healthcare, elderly care facilities, and retirement income guarantee.

“One of the main challenges is the change in the employment landscape in this country, which is increasingly moving towards informal jobs such as gig workers and the self-employed.

“Therefore, investment in the social protection system is important, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.

ISWC is a program jointly organized by the EPF, the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department (ICU JPM), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), and the ASEAN Social Security Association (ASSA).

Population aging is a global phenomenon that is becoming more and more apparent all over the world, and Malaysia is no exception to this challenge. The head of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Policy and Strategy Department, Balqais Yusoff, said Malaysia needs to prepare itself appropriately to face the effects of this ageing.

“According to global evidence, every 10 percent increase in the elderly population will lead to a 10 percent decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Whereas a 10 percent decrease in the finances of the elderly will result in a 10 percent decrease in tax collection,

“This creates a big problem, such as who will be responsible for supporting the country’s finances after this?” he said.

Balqais added that the needs and financial usage patterns of the elderly will also suffer a big change.

Therefore, Malaysia needs to examine this problem from various dimensions, including political, socioeconomic, and social.

He said the country needs to plan a holistic strategy and action plan to support the national economy in facing this challenge.

In the meantime, EPF Policy and Strategy Department Senior Manager, Farizan Kamaluddin, said this conference brings together experts in the fields of retirement, finance, and healthcare to share best practices from other countries that can be used as an example for Malaysia.

“To overcome this challenge as well, it is important to take appropriate action at the individual and national level,” he added.

With the analysis and adaptation of appropriate solutions, Malaysia can prepare itself to face the challenge of population aging more effectively.

It also attracted the presence of more than 800 delegates physically and 1,000 online, and was also successful with 19 partners and 25 local and international speakers.

In addition to the main conference, ISWC 2024 offers participants a variety of exciting activities, including gamification, EPF kiosks and exhibitions provided by partners including Amundi Asset Management, Bank Simpanan Nasional, CGS International, FWD, J.P. Morgan, Nomura Asset Management and Principal Asset Management.

The silver economy in the context of Malaysia

• The silver economy refers to the economic activity and market opportunities associated with the growing elderly population.

• It covers specific requests, services, and needs.

• Malaysia needs to prioritize investment in the silver economy to build the necessary infrastructure and drive innovation in technology to meet the needs of an aging population.

• The Prime Minister stated that government investment companies such as EPF, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and KWAP need to invest in the silver economy to support active and healthy ageing.

Opportunity

• The silver economy offers opportunities for innovation and development of products, services, and technologies tailored to the needs of the elderly.
• It also offers investment and collaboration opportunities between domestic and foreign entities in areas such as materials, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Market size and growth

• In Europe, the purchasing power of the elderly is expected to increase from US$3.7 trillion to US$5.2 trillion by 2030.

• In Asia, although smaller than in Europe, the silver economy remains large, contributed by the economies of developing countries in the region.

• The purchasing power of China’s elderly is expected to increase to US$3.2 trillion by 2030, while India’s is expected to reach nearly US$1.4 trillion.

• Malaysia is expected to experience around 40% growth in the annual purchasing power of the elderly from 2019 to 2030.

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