1. Congratulations to Indonesian President Joko Widodo who was sworn in today (Sunday) for a second five-year term as leader of the world’s third-biggest democracy after a first term marked by heavy infrastructure spending.
2. President Widodo has pledged to cut red tape and to keep building infrastructure to fuel growth in South East Asia’s largest economy. He also made improving education a top priority to encourage investment and to create jobs for a youthful population of 260 million people.
3. “This will be a big problem if we fail to create enough job opportunities,” Widodo told parliament after his inauguration, where he highlighted his dream of Indonesia becoming one of the world’s top five economies by 2045 with a GDP worth US$7 trillion.
4. This is what the UK government says about Indonesia: “Indonesia is a role model for a successful political transition. Indonesia is stable politically and a comprehensive push for decentralisation has seen much power transferred to the regions.”
5. This is what the World Bank, in turn, says about Indonesia: “Despite heightened global uncertainty, Indonesia’s economic outlook continues to be positive, with domestic demand being the main driver of growth. Supported by robust investment, stable inflation, and a strong job market, Indonesia’s economic growth is forecast to reach 5.2% in 2019.”
6. Indonesia is amongst the top foreign investment destinations in this region, largely because of its economic and political stability. At one time, Indonesia was at the bottom of the list but over the last two decades that has changed dramatically.
7. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world but is a plural society and the inter-racial and inter-religious interaction, where even cross-marriages are common, is something many countries find hard to emulate.
8. Economic stability has to go hand in hand with political stability, as one cannot exist without the other. Indonesia has come a long way to what it is today, and the mature political leadership is largely to be credited for this.