ASEAN epicenter of stability and growth


We publish an excerpt of Indonesian President Joko Widodo's speeches during the 43rd ASEAN summit in Jakarta

An Indonesian proverb says that a neighbor is like a close relative, and a close neighbor is more important than a distant relative. I am of the view that the proverb is very, very relevant for ASEAN that 56 years ago pledged its kinship with the ASEAN family name. As a family, in my opinion, ASEAN is in the category of harmonious families, in the category of strong families, and in the category of high achiever families. ASEAN has proven itself as a peaceful region, as a stable region, and as a region that is growing in prosperity. We can see that ASEAN’s economic growth in 2024 is estimated to be the highest in the world, reaching 4.5 percent (year on year). ASEAN is also the most attractive region for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). By 2022, 17 percent of FDI will go to ASEAN. That is the highest number compared to other developing regions. ASEAN is also enjoying a demographic bonus with the third largest workforce in the world, and 65 percent of its population has the potential to become the middle class in 2030. We must applaud this, because all of this is part of ASEAN’s capital to achieve its goal of becoming the epicenter of growth. However, amid the turbulent global situation, ASEAN should not do business as usual. ASEAN needs extraordinary strategy, the extraordinary tactical strategy. We need a more solid collaboration; we can’t do it alone. Strong cooperation between countries, businesses community and the public in the region is important in implementing the tactical strategy. We are all aware of the magnitude of the current world’s challenges, where the master key to confront them is the ASEAN’s unity and centrality. ASEAN must be able to work harder, be more unified, be braver and be more agile. Apart from that, ASEAN also needs a long-term plan that is relevant and in accordance with the expectations of the people, not only for the next five years ahead but for the next 20 years until 2045. ASEAN as part of the Indo-Pacific region also continues to consistently work hard, both using an inclusive approach through the cooperation of the ASEAN Secretariat with the Secretariat of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), as well as an economic and development approach through the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) so that ASEAN can have an impact on its people and also on the world. ASEAN as a big ship also bears a big responsibility to the hundreds of millions of people who sail together on it. And, even though we have to sail in the midst of a storm, we as ASEAN leaders must make sure that this ship is able to continue moving and to keep voyaging. And, we must be the captains of our own ships to materialize peace, stability, and shared prosperity.

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