By Arsjad Rasjid
Right now, the whole world can use some of what I like to call the Bali balm. That is one reason why it is fortuitous that my country, Indonesia, is hosting the 2022 G20 summit in Bali this week. The slogan “Recover together, recover stronger” is not only the message the world needs right now, but it is also one we are uniquely qualified to deliver.
In sheer numbers, Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy, and we are poised to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by the end of this century, experts forecast.
Indonesia has also been an incubator to thousands of the region’s hottest tech start-ups, which have attracted billions of dollars in investment precisely because of the strong upsides they offer. Over the past couple decades, Indonesia has overcome imposing obstacles – a violent insurgency, extreme weather events, and the regional economic meltdown of the late 1990s – and have come back stronger.
Still reeling from the global COVID-19 pandemic, world economies are now trying to find firm footing against recessionary headwinds. Going into its ninth month, the war in Ukraine has already cost over 200,000 lives and threatens to become a wider, regional – if not global – conflict unless Russia and Ukraine can be brought to a just resolution of hostilities.
And in part because of that conflict, we’re looking at turbulence in energy markets, which are on the brink of a necessary transition. In 2007, major global economies signed onto the Bali Roadmap, which charted a path towards confronting climate change. Two years ago, we adopted our first sustainable plan, in which we take action to reduce our own carbon emissions.
Now, we want to seize this opportunity to contribute to positive change beyond our shores. World-renowned CEOs like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are expected to be in Bali as well when the G20 convenes. This past Thursday, Bloomberg hosted an event for top CEOs, because business – and especially high-tech enterprise – is going to be part of the solution.
Last month, Indonesia pledged to have 2 million electric motorbikes on the road by 2025. It’s the first step. Currently there are over 130 million motorbikes on which Indonesians depend for daily transportation. As we make progress towards realizable goals, we are also moving towards our long-term objective of zero emissions by 2060. Getting there will continue requiring our commitment to innovation.
In the last year alone, Indonesia has reduced deforestation by 75 percent. Our economy is adapting to new realities. As PriceWaterhouseCoopers found in a study late last year, we are consistently improving our sustainability practices. For businesses from around the world that share our commitment to the green transition, Indonesia is becoming an even more promising investment opportunity.
International financial institutions have taken note of our rebound and see promise in even faster growth at the same time that we address key climate concerns. This month, we posted our fastest growth this year, and our economy is not slowing down. This is emblematic of our resilience, and for some other global economies, perhaps it could be a model. Because for us today, fighting climate change is an existential challenge just as it will be tomorrow for the rest of the world.
Most of all, we are proud to provide a platform for this critical global summit. The way to better times for all of us depends on new and sustained economic growth. Governments have important roles to play, but so too do businesses. That is why this week we must focus on the collaboration that is key to recovery and strengthening.
Let us each do our part, and together we will rise above the daily crises that consume us and – in concert – chart a new path for responsible, economic growth. Surely if we are resolute in this, 2023 will be brighter for the Asia-Pacific and the world’s well being.