"Indonesia, as the largest economy in ASEAN, with high growth potential in the long term, will become the foundation of global economic growth. Indonesia's strategic position and its openness to foreign investment can bridge the trade war between the United States and China," said chairman of the Business Advisory Board (ABAC) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Anindya Bakrie, at an online press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.
The year 2020, he said, has been crucial for the global economy, with the business world and governments facing the challenge of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic appropriately, quickly and adaptively, in a bid to build economic and social recovery.
At the APEC Summit currently chaired by Dato Rohana, ABAC has named three main pillars that can support economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific — economic integration, innovation, and inclusion. ABAC listed the pillars during the ABAC IV 2020 virtual meeting.
In line with ABAC's long-term priorities, Anindya Bakrie stressed the importance of Indonesia's role in economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Currently, Indonesia's supply chain and manufacturing activities are still relatively small. However, as the largest archipelago country in the world, Indonesia has the potential ability to contribute more to the global supply chain, so that the stability of world output can be maintained," he said.
Bakrie explained that Indonesia is optimistic of its capability to achieve solid economic growth along with the improvements of its fundamentals. However, the implementation of regional economic integration policies through the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) within APEC will accelerate the economic recovery of Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific as a whole.
Indonesia has been listed as one of the countries with the fastest e-commerce adoption amid slowing economic growth, he pointed out. As the leader in Southeast Asia in terms of Internet economy, Indonesia is also the fourth largest market for smartphones in the world today, with a mobile phone user base of 142 million.
Speaking about ABAC’s focus on innovation, Bakrie said the pandemic has opened eyes and made the public aware that digital connectivity is important and must be a priority for the world in the post-pandemic era.
"The potential for digital economic growth in Indonesia is immense and there are many sectors that have the potential to develop, such as education, health, and renewable energy," he remarked.
Meanwhile, member of the Indonesian ABAC, Shinta Kamdani, said aspects of sustainable development goals (SDGs) must be prioritized in digital economic development along with investment as Indonesia works towards economic recovery.
"COVID-19 proves that it is not only the economy that must be recovered, but also environmental and social aspects. Thus, the business world sees that the investment mindset must be changed, not only prioritizing economic benefits, but also being able to provide sustainable long-term value and resilience in terms of social and environmental aspects," Kamdani remarked.
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