Tuesday, September 26, 2023

ASEAN is One Happy Family with World’s Highest Growth: Jokowi

Jayanty Nada Shofa
September 1, 2023 | 7:13 pm
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo kicks off the 2023 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on September 1, 2023. On Jokowi
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo kicks off the 2023 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on September 1, 2023. On Jokowi's left is ASEAN BAC chair Arsjad Rasjid. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday kicked off the 2023 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit by calling the Southeast Asian bloc one big happy family that would witness the world's highest growth next year.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) is chairing the bloc’s business group – the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) – this year. The ASEAN BAC is hosting a series of business-related talks in Jakarta over the coming days. Ahead of these dialogues, Jokowi told Southeast Asia's business leaders of his optimism towards ASEAN’s economy.

"ASEAN's economic growth is forecast to be the highest in the world in 2024, reaching 4.5 percent year-on-year," Jokowi said at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit opening ceremony at the Merdeka Palace.

Jokowi also told the business executives that Southeast Asia was the most attractive destination for foreign investors. In 2022, 17 percent of the global foreign direct investment (FDI) went to ASEAN.


“This is the highest [FDI share] compared to other developing regions,” Jokowi said.

ASEAN enjoys a large demographic dividend, even being home to the world’s third-largest workforce. About 65 percent of ASEAN’s population will join the middle class by 2030, according to Jokowi.

The president added: “All these will help us become an ‘epicentrum of growth’.”

Despite the optimistic outlook, Jokowi urged ASEAN to refrain from being complacent amidst global uncertainties. 

“We need extraordinary tactical strategies ... and stronger collaboration. ... Be it collaboration between countries, businesses or even our people. ASEAN BAC should play a bigger role in coming up with and implementing tactical strategies that can spur this cross-stakeholder collaboration," Jokowi said.

The president reminded the high-profile guests that ASEAN was a family, even quoting an Indonesian proverb.

“There is an Indonesian saying that goes ‘our neighbors are like our close relatives. Our close neighbors are more important than our distant relatives. I think this proverb is relevant to ASEAN who had pledged to become a family under the "ASEAN" name 56 years ago," Jokowi said.

'ASEAN is a family that lives in harmony and sticks together. We are also a high-achieving family,” Jokowi added.

Read More: ASEAN MSMEs Try to Make Traditional Fabrics Go International

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