Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is trusted to hold the ASEAN chairmanship again in 2023, and this momentum will be an opportunity for it to navigate the growth of Southeast Asia as the center of global economy in future.

This momentum is also beneficial to encourage the improvement of investment and trade in Indonesia.

The theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth" is expected to be able to showcase ASEAN's capability as the center of global economic growth.

This is not a mere jargon, as ASEAN is the fifth-biggest economy in the world, with the number of people in the population reaching over 650 million and GPD standing at US$3.36 trillion in 2021.

Moreover, ASEAN's trade level with partner countries also grew significantly, reaching 34 percent within the last decade.

Meanwhile, the value of foreign investment that entered ASEAN in 2021 was pegged at US$179 billion, with the highest growth occurring in the financial and insurance sector, at 32 percent.

Collectively, the ASEAN also has high economic growth and macroeconomic stability. The ASEAN economy grew by 5.3 percent in 2022 and is collectively estimated to reach 4.6 percent this year and rise to 5.6 percent in 2024.

This growth will continue to be supported by consumption, trade, and strong investment, among others.

"ASEAN always becomes a bright spot in the global economy because this region offers a more promising economic prospect as compared to the global economic prospect," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated.

Thus, strong collaboration and cooperation should be undertaken, so that the ASEAN is able to survive against various risks that can threaten the region's economy, she remarked.

Becoming an investment destination

Indonesia is one of the countries in ASEAN that has a large economic potential, starting from its resource diversity, abundance of members of the productive age workforce, as well as a large market, with a population of over 270 million.

In fact, among other ASEAN countries, Indonesia was placed second after Singapore in terms of the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) that entered the country in the 2020-2021 period.

Indonesia is also a production-based country for the international market that contributes 36 percent to the total ASEAN GDP.

As the only G20 member in the region, Indonesia has economic resiliency and growth, with GDP reaching US$1.3 trillion and GDP per capita of over US$5,000.

Based on Bloomberg's data in April 2023, Indonesia is also a country that will survive against the likelihood of recession occurring in future, with the percentage of possible recession only reaching two percent.

Hence, the 2023 ASEAN chairmanship momentum is expected to not only encourage economic rotation but also improve potential investment and trade cooperation both with fellow ASEAN countries and outside of ASEAN.

Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia stated that in addition to supporting the macroeconomic factor, President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) leadership presence and stability became one of the factors that had drawn global investors' trust toward Indonesia.

The proof of how appealing Indonesia is as an investment destination is apparent from the investment realization data that originates from across the world: East Asia, the ASEAN, America to Europe.

During the period from January to March 2023, the biggest foreign investment came from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and the US.

Intra-ASEAN cooperation potential

The potential for intra-ASEAN trade and investment cooperation was also something that the private sector is interested in.

Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Arsjad Rasjid, concurrently head of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), campaigns three core ASEAN values to make the region a global economic center.

These values comprised centrality, innovation, and inclusivity.

Indonesia has a vision to strengthen connectivity between countries in Southeast Asia through the crucial role of the business group and the private sector, Rasjid said.

"ASEAN has a number of potentials that will become one of the main determinants in the development and growth of the global economy," he noted.

"We encourage to have these 10 ASEAN member countries unite and develop collective centralization innovation to move the world," he affirmed.

During his tour around ASEAN, in addition to encouraging commitment towards the initiation of ASEAN centralization as the epicentrum of global economic growth, ASEAN-BAC delegations, which are also businessmen, also explored potential cooperation and investment.

With Singapore, Indonesia is committed to strengthening investment toward its new and renewable energy sector.

Indonesian businessmen are aiming for partnership with the Philippines to improve global nickel production to make ASEAN the supply chain center for the electric vehicle industry.

This partnership is also extended to Myanmar that has abundance of earth metal elements as one of the critical components in the creation of lighter vehicles.

There is also cooperation opportunity for the development of renewable energy toward the net zero emission target in 2060.

With Malaysia, Indonesia seeks to strengthen existing cooperation, while with Cambodia, Indonesia is aiming for digital transformation and partnership in the tourism sector. Indonesia also underlines the sustainable development initiative with Brunei Darussalam.

With Vietnam, Indonesia is aiming for cooperation in infrastructure development, renewable energy, high technology, and digital transformation.

Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship in 2023 becomes a momentum to strengthen synergy among countries in Southeast Asia.

Through collaboration, the ASEAN is deemed to be able to become the center of global economy amid the high global uncertainty.

ASEAN's strong position is expected to provide economic impact to its countries, including Indonesia, to utilize the investment flow potential in the region.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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