Asean has sufficient resources to become a centre of world economic growth with a GDP reaching US$3.36 trillion (RM15.07 trillion) in 2021 and a population of 650 million people, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said on March 15.
Trade between Asean and its partners has also grown significantly, reaching 34 per cent in the last decade while foreign investment poured into Asean in 2021 reached US$179 billion, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The majority of Asean countries had inflation rates below the global level.
The Indonesian official said that Indonesia as Asean chair this year set 16 Priority Economic Deliverables (PED) which are divided into three strategic drives including recovery-rebuilding, digital economy, and sustainability.
Indonesia’s main strategy to increase economic integration and strengthen competitiveness in turning Asean into a centre of world economic growth is digital transformation by expanding local currency transactions and accelerating negotiations Digital Economic Framework Agreement (DEFA), it reported.
To encourage the improvement of these various achievements, Airlangga said Asean needs to take advantage of various economic cooperation in the region, both in the form of the Asean plus 1 free trade agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In addition, Asean needs to strengthen air and sea connectivity, realise the Asean Power Grid, and promote food security by strengthening the supply chain and regional logistics system.
Particularly, the bloc must have inter-sectoral cooperation to ensure food security and develop a mechanism to strengthen the early warning system, it added.
According to Minister Airlangga, Asean needs to boost its sustainability agenda through the development of trans-Asean renewable energy such as solar power, hydropower, electric vehicle ecosystem, and regional green economic framework.
Indonesia also aims to promote sustainable regional development through the Asean – Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) in which, the public and private sectors will be invited to participate in projects in the region to support green infrastructure, strengthened supply chains, digital transformation, and creative economy, as well as innovative and sustainable finance.