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Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

ASEAN must be united to accelerate economic revival

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Indonesian President, Joko Widodo had the opportunity to deliver his speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Monday (25/10). He conveyed about the economic revival of ASEAN member countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He disclosed three key points to revitalize the economy in the Southeast Asia region.

First, health care must become a top priority. The short-term agenda to accelerate and equalize vaccination in all countries in the region must be carried out jointly. Thereby, the target of vaccination of the ASEAN population as many as 70 percent must be achieved immediately.

Second, ASEAN's economic recovery must be accelerated by reactivating safe travel, including safe tourism. According to the records of the United Nations World Tourism Organization –UNWTO, the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia is 82 percent, the highest in the world.

With the Covid-19 situation increasingly under control, President Joko Widodo believes that these restrictions can be reduced. However, it must be guaranteed safe from the risk of the pandemic. He also reminded again that a year ago, Indonesia initiated the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework. He perceived that this idea needs to be implemented immediately. In addition, President Joko Widodo has encouraged the recognition of vaccine certificates in the region, including the interoperability of vaccine systems. Travel arrangement for people who have been vaccinated and healthy is necessary by implementing vaccinated travel lanes in the region.

The third key that was pointed out by President Joko Widodo is by accelerating the adaptation of regional economic activities towards a digital economy. Because, the digital technology is the most effective solution in dealing with the limitations of movement and face-to-face meetings in community economic activities. He also viewed that ASEAN is the region with the fastest internet growth in the world. Therefore, the potential of ASEAN's digital economy is very large. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital economy grew and reached US$100 billion in 2020. President Joko Widodo also emphasized that Indonesia supports ASEAN to become a digitally connected community.

In regard to President Joko Widodo's explanation, it is implied that fast and integrated steps must be taken immediately by all ASEAN member countries. This disclosure can be felt as urgency for the regional economy to recover sooner. However, the main requirement is a common vision, common step and cooperative spirit for all ASEAN member countries.

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