ASEAN Investment and Trade: Empowering Inclusive Growth with MSME Involvement

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ASEAN Investment and Trade: Empowering Inclusive Growth with MSME Involvement

Indonesian Investment Minister and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia, emphasized the importance of investment in achieving sustainable development. Speaking at the ASEAN Investment Forum 2023 in Jakarta, Bahlil encouraged investment in ASEAN countries to pay attention to local entrepreneurs. He made the remarks at the opening of the ASEAN Investment Forum 2023.

The forum is part of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2023, organized by ASEAN BAC in Indonesia. The two-day event on September 2-3, 2023 aims to showcase investment opportunities in ASEAN and facilitate meetings between investors and companies seeking investment.

Bahlil said this year's ASEAN Investment Forum is themed "Investing for Sustainable Development", which is in line with Indonesia's vision as ASEAN Chair. This vision aims to elevate ASEAN as a global economic growth center with inclusive, robust and sustainable development.

To promote inclusive growth, Bahlil suggested that investments in the ASEAN region should focus on partnerships with local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which are the largest contributors to the region's gross domestic product (GDP).

He emphasized that entrepreneurs from the region should not be mere spectators, but should actively participate in efforts to increase and strengthen investment growth.

At the same time, Arsjad Rasjid, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), underscored the importance of investment and trade as the main foundation of ASEAN economies. Therefore, it must be managed together to create prosperity.

He highlighted the huge potential and wide-open investment opportunities in the Southeast Asian region. Especially in agriculture and food, the digital economy, public-private healthcare, electric cars, carbon markets, and the QT regional payment system.

The potential and opportunities have made ASEAN an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI in Southeast Asia has grown significantly in recent years, jumping from around US$23 billion in 2010 to US$47 billion in 2021.

In the digital economy, ASEAN has seen very significant growth. In 2022, the digital economy in ASEAN will reach a total value of US$194 billion and is expected to grow to US$330 billion by 2025. The potential and investment opportunities available confirm that ASEAN has a very solid economic foundation, especially for sustainable development.

ASEAN-BAC, through the ASEAN Investment Forum, continues to provide consistent support to strengthen these economic fundamentals with the aim of making the ASEAN region an attractive global investment destination. 

Under the Indonesian's leadership, ASEAN-BAC has conducted a series of roadshows in ASEAN countries as well as external partners such as the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada and China. These roadshows aim to provide information on the investment potential and opportunities that exist in ASEAN.

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