Creating More and Better Jobs Through ASEAN: Strategies for Indonesia to Leverage Regional Integration

Abstrak

The end of 2015 marks the integration of one of the most dynamic markets in the world – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While much of the world was reeling from the impact of the Great Recession from 2009 to 2013, the regional bloc posted impressive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates – averaging 5.1 percent per annum. Foreign Direct Investment in ASEAN grew by 18 percent in the last two years alone, reaching US$ 136.2 billion in 2014. It comes as no surprise therefore that policymakers and investors from around the world see ASEAN as a critical emerging market that has the power to lift the global economy and boost the ranks of the global middle class. But if ASEAN is to realize these ambitions, the leaders of the regional community must aspire to not only achieve higher GDP growth rates but also to create more and better jobs for its burgeoning youth population. This is particularly true for Indonesia – a country representing 40 percent of ASEAN's economic output as well as 40 percent of its population.

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