Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at The Future of Asia Conference held Virtually, at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, May 27, 2022
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
We believe that the present century is the century of Asia. Asia is not only for Asia, but Asia for the world, especially in the midst of a divided world. As the theme of this conference, we need to ‘redefining Asia’s role in a divided world’. The Asian region will and must continue to act as a catalyst and engine for stability, for peace, and for global prosperity.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
We face many global challenges. Economic recovery efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic are still uneven. We still have to anticipate the threat of a new wave of COVID-19 variants, and all of this is further exacerbated by the occurrence of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which brings a new chapter in the geopolitical constellation. Global politics is experiencing increased tension, disrupted world trade supply chains, scarcity, and rising prices of goods. The global economic downturn is inevitable.
UNCTAD has reduced global GDP growth from 3.8 percent to 2.6 percent by 2022. At least 38 low-income countries have attained high-risk status for their external debt burden. The achievement of the SDGs is getting delayed and 150 million people in the world are plunged into extreme poverty again, and more than 160 million people in the world are starving again.
Although the Asian economy rebounded 6.9 percent last year, economic recovery has not yet occurred in the wider region. ADB (Asia Development Bank) estimates that Asian GDP will increase to 5.2 percent in 2022 and to 5.3 percent in 2023, with inflation rising 3.7 percent this year and 3.1 percent in 2023. In the ASEAN region, the poverty rate reached 4.7 million people and more than 9.3 million people lost their jobs.
To that end, we must speed up economic recovery. There is a need for investment in the national health sector, investment in human resources to boost productivity and competitiveness, strengthen macroeconomic fundamentals, and make the most of green economic opportunities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Indonesia will continue to support post-pandemic recovery efforts.
First, at the bilateral level, Indonesia continues to seek to strengthen economic cooperation, especially with its strategic partners, such as Japan. In bilateral talks with PM Kishida of Japan in Jakarta last April, we both agreed to further strengthen economic partnerships, increase trade and investment beyond pre-pandemic trends, expand market access and overcome trade barriers, especially exports of Indonesian agricultural and fishery products.
Second, cooperation within the ASEAN framework. Indonesia will continue to encourage ASEAN countries to work hard together to better enjoy the global value chain in order to climb the ladder of progress. The RCEP, which was approved two years ago, needs to be implemented immediately to strengthen the mutually beneficial economic integration of the region. The implementation of RCEP has the potential to increase regional trade by 10 percent in the next five years and contribute 187 billion US dollars to the region’s GDP.
Third, as President of the G20, Indonesia wants to ensure that the G20 becomes a catalyst for global economic recovery. There are three important sectors that will become priorities for the Indonesian Presidency.
First, strengthening the global health architecture to ensure the availability of resources for tackling COVID-19, as well as strengthening preparedness for the upcoming emergency.
Second, energy transition to ensure technology support, investment, and financing of energy transition and green development, especially for developing countries.
Third, digital transformation to strengthen new sources of growth and expand economic opportunities, including for MSMEs. We hope that 2022 can become the year of recovery.
Once again, I hope that the conference’s participants will produce ideas and breakthroughs for speeding up global recovery and awakening.
I thank you.