Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Economic conditions in the United States which were now on the brink of crisis show that Uncle Sam is no longer the engine of world economic growth, an academic said.
Prof Gracia S Ugut, dean of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), said Asia had now replaced the United States as the engine of world economic growth.
Speaking at a strategic executive forum themed "Leadership and Management in the Era of Uncertainty" organized jointly by ANTARA News Agency and AIM here Thursday, Ugut said to overcome the present global economic uncertainties, developing countries such as Indonesia should strengthen the role of their state companies (BUMNs) as the engine of domestic economic growth.
"Directors of state companies should focus on their respective business, and strive to lead their companies in better ways," she said.
In the era of borderless economic interaction, businesses in every sector should not limit their activity to the local market but they should also participate in the regional and global markets.
Citing an example, she said 80 percent of the Philippines` electronic products was marketed in the United States, and the rest in other countries.
"The era where a country can depend on one product or on one export destination country only is over," she said.
She called on ASEAN to emulate the integrated economic system of the European Union although she admitted the wide gaps existing in the economic systems of ASEAN member countries and the different levels of economic progress they had reached could hamstring efforts to achieve economic integration.
Mentioning an example, she said the initiative among ASEAN member countries to lower import duties often contradicted their continued tendency to protect their industries.
About the economic progress China had achieved, she said the phenomenon was possible as the country had qualified human capital supported by high technology.
Prof. Ugut further said in the future the business of news agencies would still exist if they were responsive to the changing market situations and tastes.
She said news agencies could no longer be a propaganda tool for the government but must provide information services, including on market opportunities or information on capital markets which were needed by the people.
Besides being varied, she said, the information services should also be segmented and thus customized products should be provided.
State Enterprises Minister Sofyan Djalil PhD in his written speech said state company directors should carry out changes in the companies they lead to answer the challenges of the changes in the economy, technology and in market demand.
"For all directors, the uncertainties force them to remove all the inefficiencies and bring new values for the changed business realities," he said in the speech read by his expert staffer, Loso Judijanto.
On selection of state companies (BUMNs), Sofyan said he always evaluated their track records, mainly in e turbulent times or when they face an internal or external crisis.
"Only good leaders will be able to take the organization out of a crisis. If they are not able to do so, they are second-class leaders," he said.
He added a successful leader was one who could predict the worst and prepare actions to overcome them.
"Although (she or he is) aware of a possible crisis or disaster through planned or computerized scenario models, a leader who has not prepared a solid action plan will fail," he added.
ANTARA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Ahmad Mukhlis Yusuf in his speech said the organization he leads was now making some improvements and developing new products.
ANTARA was now not only providing text-news services but also audio and visual (for television and radio content) as well as web-based information. (*)