Despite the wave of crisis, ASEAN has still shown positive economic performance, he noted while addressing a meeting between ASEAN leaders and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Thursday.
"The total ASEAN gross domestic product (GDP) still exceeds US$3 trillion and ASEAN is the fifth biggest economy in the world. In this state of financial turmoil, of course, we all must be vigilant. The partnership between the business world and governments must be intensified. The private sector plays an essential role," Widodo said, according to a press statement released by the Presidential Secretariat's press bureau.
In the short term, efforts must be made to strengthen ASEAN’s economic resilience, the President said. This will require the implementation of countermeasures and adaptive macro-prudential government policies to stabilize the financial system and stimulate economic mobility.
"The private sector must also be forward-looking. This means that they must be careful to see the crisis, exercise caution, and act quickly to adapt. The speed and accuracy to adapt is the key to ASEAN economic resilience," he said.
The President also stressed the importance of improving ASEAN’s competitive edge through innovations in the long run.
"Make sure that we will be competitive in the future through innovations. Digital economy and green economy are ASEAN's future. The digital economy enables (us) to increase productivity and expand market access. Through the green economy, make sure that ASEAN continues to grow in a sustainable way," he said.
At the meeting, the Indonesian leader also underscored the importance of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for the ASEAN economy. More than 90 percent of business undertakings in the region are MSMEs, and 65 million MSMEs are in Indonesia alone.
"The advancement of MSMEs has a significant impact on the ASEAN economy. Thus, our synergy becomes highly crucial to be strengthened," he remarked.
Oleh : Indra Arief Pribadi. Suharto/Antara
Editor : Yakop