Jakarta (VNA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo has voiced his belief that the acceleration of digital transformation of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will encourage the revival of the regional economy. 

In his speech at the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Interface with Representatives from the East Asia Business Council on November 14, he called on all countries to continue believing that there are still opportunities amid the current difficulties.

According to the President, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed dealt a blow on the world economy in which all countries without exception are facing negative economic growth. In ASEAN, more than 30 million people are facing the risk of losing their jobs.

By 2025, the ASEAN digital economy is projected to value at about 200 billion USD, while that of Indonesia is estimated to reach 133 billion USD by the time. 

He noted, however, there are still many challenges in digital transformation. Many types of old businesses and jobs are closed. About 56 percent of jobs in five ASEAN countries are at risk of being lost due to automation. 

In addition, the digital divide in ASEAN countries is still considered very large. 

He went on to say that there are a number of things that ASEAN countries must continue to encourage. First, they need to ensure that the digital revolution runs inclusively by paying attention to aspects of access, affordability, and ability. 

ASEAN must also move in order to become a big player in the digital-based economy while at the same time making the digital economy the main strength of the organisation. 

Widodo emphasised that ASEAN should not be just a digital market, but must grow into a major force capable of helping MSMEs in ASEAN enter the global supply chains.

He said the governments of ASEAN countries must also have a bigger share in encouraging digital transformation, adding that strong synergy between ASEAN countries was needed to create a conducive digital ecosystem in the region. 

Digital trade barriers must be eliminated, legal certainty must be built, and simplification of procedures and licensing systems must be carried out, to strengthen partnerships between the governments and the private sector to strengthen digital connectivity./.