Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) Arsjad Rasjid. (ANTARA/HO-Kadin)

JAKARTA – Indonesia has vast potential to become the ASEAN axis of the global economy, said Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) Arsjad Rasjid Friday.

Indonesia will be the Chair of the ASEAN Summit next year, and Rasjid was appointed as Chair of the 2023 ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC), an important forum for the business community between ASEAN member countries.

"The total population of ASEAN reaches 600 million people. Indonesia contributes 275 million people of which the majority are of productive age and ready to support a regional economy that continues to develop in the future. As the leader of the ASEAN Chair next year, we must promote increased productivity and connectivity in the region," he said in a statement.

He remarked that ASEAN had become one of the "underdogs" in inter-regional economic competition until it unleashed its prowess as an economic power in the last few decades.

The region has gone from being one of the poorest regions globally to become one of the most attractive developing markets.

In 1970, ASEAN's GDP was recorded at only US$29 billion, and the figure grew positively up to US$3.6 trillion in 2021.

In fact, he added, ASEAN's economic growth rate exceeds those of other developing regions, such as Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia.

Rasjid observed that the business community was the core of economic growth in the ASEAN region.

He also emphasized that the business community should support the competitiveness, inclusivity, and unity of the ASEAN community in the midst of a shift in global power from superpowers to the Indo-Pacific region.

"To be able to make ASEAN a global economic axis, ASEAN itself must be able to increase productivity and connectivity among countries in the ASEAN region," he pointed out.

Akin to the B20 2022 Summit, Indonesia will also bring some derivative programs that will be pursued in the two priority themes of digitalization and sustainable development in the ASEAN BAC 2023.

He highlighted the success of the B20 Summit that resulted in 68 memoranda of understanding and investments worth more than US$18 billion.

He expected that the ASEAN BAC would enable Indonesia to achieve similar success by increasing investment in projects that fit the two priority themes of ASEAN BAC 2023.

"ASEAN must be an attractive menu for global investors to support regional growth," he stated. (Antara)