Bali, Indonesia, 17 November 2011
Assalaamu’alaikum warrahmatullaahi wabarakatuh
Peace be upon us,
His Excellency President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea,
Excellencies Ministers of ASEAN Member Countries,
His Excellency Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN,
Mr. Anangga Roosdiono, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council,
Distinguished members of the ASEAN business community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by expressing our gratitude to my good friend President Lee Myung-bak, for joining us here today. President Lee has been a steadfast partner of ASEAN, and we commend him for his goodwill and leadership.
I also congratulate Mr. Anangga Roosdiono and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, for organizing this ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
This is an exciting year, for business and investment in ASEAN.
We all know the global economy is still on shaky grounds. The world economic recovery is still fragile. And we all hope the Eurozone economies will pull through the present crisis.
But here in ASEAN, the pulse is somewhat different. It is an upbeat pulse. There is a growing confidence in our region that translates into an average growth of 7,4 % for ASEAN economies in 2010. This is higher than the world average of 5 % last year. As a vote of confidence from our international friends, including from Korea, FDI in our region has also grown, by about 90 % last year. This is also true for us here in Indonesia. And I am glad that we now see a trend of increasing investments among ASEAN economies.
A key part of that confidence is the brimming “can do spirit” of the dynamic business community in ASEAN. ASEAN businesses are scoring one success after another, becoming pioneers and role models in their own economies, and many are starting to go global. They are the drivers of the modernization efforts now underway in our region.
What is most important is that, businesses today are operating under a different national mindset.
There may have been time in the past when businesses were seen with some hostility – including ideological hostility. But today, there is hardly any country, regardless of its political system, which can achieve progress without the foundation of an active business community. Governments that constraint business is bound to fall behind Governments who unleash its potential. Today, being pro-poor and pro-jobs are complementary to being pro-business. After all, Governments can only provide a certain amount of jobs, and ultimately it is up to small, medium and big businesses to provide the employment, that has now become a scarce global commodity.
It is therefore important for Governments to cultivate business friendly policies, and to harness the entrepreneurial capacity of society. Experts believe that a sign of a healthy economy is when at least 2 % of its population are entrepreneurs. All of us should work hard to achieve this minimum benchmark. The rise of entrepreneurs is also a good sign, because it means its society is driven by creativity, positive energy and optimism.
It is important for ASEAN economies to nurture the culture of success. This means a society which glorifies and rewards success and excellence.
One challenge for our business community is, how to claim our space in the world of innovation.
If the emerging economies have proved anything – from Brazil to Turkey, from India to Indonesia, from China to South Africa – it is that developing countries too can become sources of innovation – in information technology, biotechno-logy, aviation, computers, health, automobile, and others. We have also proved that in certain sectors, emerging economies can more than catch up, it can leap frog others in front of them.
ASEAN is a region fast being transformed. We are becoming an ASEAN Community.
One defining feature of that ASEAN Community – we hope – is the spread of opportunity. Our citizens have acquired constitu- tionally guaranteed equality – but providing equal opportunity for all remains a challenge.
The business community – from ASEAN and beyond – is indispensable in this effort. You have the power to change, to build, to empower, and to prosper. We believe that the best investments are those that are for the long haul, beneficial to the people, environmentally sustainable, and contribute to progress.
In this ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, let me propose several number of areas, that you can do well to contribute in a win-win fashion.
FIRST, you can be the driving force behind the development of infrastructure and connectivity.
The development of infrastructure is the next big thing for our region. The demand is great, the capacity is abundant, and the political will is strong.
The development of connectivity in Southeast Asia has become a main priority, following the adoption of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. Our vision is to connect the economic centers in the region;to connect the archipelagic countries and the ASEAN mainland; and to connect ASEAN with the remaining East Asia and the world as a whole.
We in Indonesia have also adopted a Master Plan for the next 15 years. This involves an ambitious plan to develop SIX growth corridors throughout Indonesia – in agriculture, industry and service. This Master Plan will require massive capital in the range of 4,000 trillion Rupiah or over $ 400 billion dollars. About $ 100 billion dollars will come from the state budget. The same amount will come from SOE. Another $ 100 billion dollars from private sector, and from foreign direct investment we expect some 100 to 150 billion. The sectors to be developed are wide-ranging: infrastructure, transportation, energy, agriculture, manufacture, fisheries, defense industry and others. Indeed, we have much to offer those who seek business opportunity: our economy is growing at a solid 6,5 %, our GDP is now over $ 700 billion dollar, and we have a large population of 240 million with growing purchasing power.
This is all good for trade and investment, as demands will rise, and thus create exciting opportunities for you.
SECOND, you can be our partner in achieving equitable development.
I say this because everywhere we are seeing a world of plenty as well as inequity. This may lead to growing social and economic gaps, which none of us cannot afford.
One of the outcome documents that the ASEAN Leaders have adopted at this Summit is The ASEAN Framework for Equitable Economic Development.This document contains practical programs which will help bridge the development gaps, and encourage wider participation, including business sector, in the ASEAN integration process.
Critical to equitable development is the expansion of economic opportunities for low-income households in many ASEAN countries. We welcome the role of the private financial institutions and bankings, to complement the Government’s efforts.
THIRD, you can be part of the solution in the pursuit of green growth.
For most ASEAN member countries, natural resources have been critical assets in development. But the days when we use our natural resources without regard for future generations are over. One way or another, all of us must embrace sustainable develop- ment and low carbon development path. And I believe we can achieve progress and prosperity, while enforcing environ- mentally sustainable practice. Here, technology will be key. And again, in this area, private sector can work with Governments, to promote sustainable growth.
Let me therefore end my remarks by, commending you on your dynamism and foresight, and by wishing you a productive meeting.
Business people are doers. So I look forward to hearing your recommendations.
By working in synergy, together we can achieve a strong, stable and prosperous ASEAN, as envisioned by the ASEAN Charter.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Om Santhi, Santhi, Santhi Om