THE President of the Republic of Indonesia (RI), Joko Widodo (Jokowi) invited the leaders of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen collaboration as an effort to maintain the region as the Epicentrum of Growth or a center of growth.

“In this situation, we must further strengthen collaboration to maintain ASEAN as the Epicentrum of Growth and our economic potential is still very large,” said President Jokowi when opening the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN-BAC in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Wednesday (05/10).

He based this optimism on the ASEAN economy which is growing above the world average, the existence of a demographic bonus, and the middle class which continues to increase to reach 65 percent in 2020.

“Let’s work closely together to formulate a common agenda to ensure that this region continues to be the Epicenter of Growth,” said President Jokowi.

According to him, the ASEAN region needs to be grateful that in the last three years it has successfully faced the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to collaboration between the government and the business world.

However, the President Jokowi said that the challenges ahead are still very heavy, in which geopolitical risks are still large, plus, financial institutions in the United States (US) and the world are falling.

At the 42nd ASEAN Summit, Indonesia raised the theme ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth which means that ASEAN is relevant and important as a center of world growth.

Indonesia aims to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of ASEAN institutions so that they are able to respond to the challenges of the next 20 years.

In addition, in this chairmanship, Indonesia has prioritized strengthening the health architecture, strengthening food security including supply chain smoothness and trade facilitation.

In addition, it also strengthens energy security in supporting the energy transition towards clean and renewable energy (EBT), including the development of the electric vehicle ecosystem in the region, and strengthens financial stability in dealing with external shocks. [sources/photo special]