After over a decade, Indonesia is again appointed as the chair of ASEAN. As a country with the most population amongst other Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia has a significant role in the growth of the ASEAN. After accomplishing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest free trade agreement in the world, Indonesia is optimistic about maintaining its influence in increasing economic integration in Southeast Asia. Therefore, in this year's summit, Indonesia aims to make ASEAN Matter by remaining essential and relevant for its people, the Indo-Pacific Region, and the world. Amid the world's fierce challenges from a geopolitical and economic standpoint, ASEAN is focused on making the region the anchor of world stability. The 42nd ASEAN theme, 'ASEAN Matters: Epicenter of Growth, ' represents Indonesia's confidence in strengthening economic recovery and making South East Asia the world's engine of sustainable growth. This year's summit will take place in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, from Tuesday (6/9), until Thursday (6/11), 2023. Leaders from ASEAN will attend the series of events of this year's summit alongside thousands of delegates from each member country. Indonesia's leadership and commitment to the region's growth and development will considerably have a significant impact on the future of ASEAN.
As Southeast Asia's largest economy per GDP, Indonesia has emerged as a growing powerhouse in the region, exerting substantial influence. With this prominent position, the Indonesian government aims to transform ASEAN into a center for regional and global economic growth, with an emphasis on three key economic deliverables: recovery and rebuilding, digital economy, and sustainability. Indonesia's recovery and rebuilding efforts demonstrated through signing the second protocol amending the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area agreement reflect its commitment to fostering interconnected markets and new competitiveness. Meanwhile, the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) promotes inclusive digital economic transformation through initiatives such as the Last-Mile Delivery logistics framework for rural supply chains. ASEAN countries should also endeavor to formulate a strategy to educate their nations on financial literacy and increase the interconnectivity of the regional payment system through the digital economy. Finally, Indonesia is dedicated to promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), developing electric vehicles (EVs), and fostering sustainable interconnectivity and an integrated market, all of which are integral to sustainability. Following the successful implementation of all three economic deliverables, Achmad Baidowi, a Member of the Indonesian House of Representative (DPR RI) from the PPP faction, expressed his optimism regarding the success of the ASEAN Summit and related activities in early 2023, including the positive impacts that will follow.
The ASEAN Summit can be the door to abundant opportunities for Indonesia, supported by the fact that Indonesia can attract international investors interested in its natural resources and manufacturing sector. Correspondingly, it will cause a rise in foreign investment and job opportunities, leading to a multiplier effect. As one of the most affected sectors by the previous COVID-19 pandemic, this occasion will be a golden ticket for Indonesia to bounce back on its tourism sector by attracting more tourists to come and experience the country’s unique culture and natural beauty. Alongside that, there will be a significant increase in Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the arrival of delegates from each member country will boost domestic consumption, such as accommodation, transportation, and local enterprises. The Director of the Labuan Bajo Flores Tourism Authority Implementation Agency (BPOLBF), Shana Fatina, stated that the target for money circulation is expected to be not far different from the MotoGP event in Lombok last year, which reach Rp5 trillion. Nevertheless, as the host country that is currently in the spotlight, it is crucial for Indonesia to provide state-of-the-art products and services to attain great impressions from thousands of delegates of each member country that are attending this year’s summit.
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