Improving Asia-Pacific's Growth Path
    Category: Issues & Ideas By : Gloria Haraito Read : 1790 Date : Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 07:33:46

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    While many international summits are meant for either political leaders or business leaders, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is one of the few that brings together both communities. The forum was founded in 1996 as an adjunct to the purely political Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, four years after APEC was established. The mission of ABAC was to advise APEC on specific business priorities for the political leaders of the region.

    From October 1 to 4, Indonesia will be hosting the fourth ABAC meeting in Bali. The meeting comprises 63 private business leaders who are appointed by 21 economic leaders in the APEC region—every country has three delegates. This meeting is the final after three previous meetings held in Kyoto, Manila and Singapore.

    The event will then be followed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit on October 5 and 6. The ABAC members will bring the results of all these events to the APEC leaders in a joint meeting on October 7.

    Wishnu Wardhana, the APEC CEO Summit chairman and ABAC chairman for 2013, says both political and business leaders will gain insights from these events as Asia has an opportunity amid the current world economic uncertainty. “The Asia-Pacific region has proven it is the most resilient area around the globe to provide economic growth as well as hopefully be the stimulus for global growth,” says Wishnu, 42, who is also the president director and group chief executive of coal miner PT Indika Energy. This year's meeting is especially important to Indonesia, as it is the first time in 19 years that it is hosting the APEC meetings and will also be the last one for the outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

    Wishnu is one of six members of ABAC Indonesia together with Anindya Bakrie, chief executive of PT Bakrie Telecom and Karen Agustiawan, president director of PT Pertamina, and three alternate members: Gatot Suwondo, president director of PT Bank Negara Indonesia; Arief Yahya, president director of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia and Erwin Aksa, president director of the Bosowa group.

    Since the beginning ABAC was set up as an organization for members to discuss everything related to APEC economies, says ABAC Indonesia Senior Advisor David Parsons. In the upcoming meeting, Wishnu says ABAC will discuss many issues. Two of the most important are improving financing for infrastructure development and getting better funding for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

    For the first topic, developing infrastructure remains a top priority for most of emerging Asia. Asia needs $8 trillion for infrastructure, according to the Asian Development Bank. The ABAC members have discussed with senior government officials how to improve infrastructure financing. “Indonesia is very attractive place to be invested in infrastructure,” says Wishnu.