Jakarta (ANTARA) - Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been the engine of the ASEAN economy, helping the region to survive global economic uncertainty by creating more jobs and stimulating economic growth.

This was said by the chairperson of ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Arsjad Rasjid at the opening of the ASEAN Weekend Market in Jakarta on Friday.

The event aimed to enhance the contribution of MSMEs to economic growth in the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"This event affirms that ASEAN takes MSMEs into account since they constitute the economic foundation of the region, including Indonesia," he said.

Rasjid, who also chairs the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), is holding the chairmanship of ASEAN-BAC during Indonesia's term as the chair of ASEAN this year.

According to data from the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, MSMEs employ 35–97 percent of the workforce in ASEAN countries and contribute 35–69 percent to each country's gross domestic product.

Rasjid expressed optimism that the ASEAN Weekend Market will serve as a platform for ASEAN to showcase its excellence by enabling MSMEs to improve and compete at the global level.

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The event has participation from 45 MSMEs representing Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

"The participation of MSMEs in the ASEAN Weekend Market will demonstrate the importance of local creativity and innovation in creating job opportunities, boosting income, and strengthening the foundation of the regional economy," he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki, said that the event is proof of ASEAN's concrete contribution to efforts to expand the market reach of MSMEs in the region.

"I believe that this is an essential event to promote the products of MSMEs in ASEAN," he added after the event's opening ceremony.

He noted that in 2022, the ASEAN region recorded an economic growth of 5.6 percent, exceeding the global average of 3.1 percent.

Indonesia recorded an economic growth of above 5 percent for the seventh consecutive quarter. On August 7, it was announced that Indonesia's economy grew 5.17 percent in the second quarter of 2023.

"With its population mounting to 679 million, or equivalent to 8 percent of the world's total population, ASEAN must bolster its competitiveness for the sake of stimulating the economic growth of each member country and the region as a whole," he said.

There are currently 10 member countries in ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

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Translator: Kuntum K, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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