News / Asia

Indonesian President Touts Country to Investors

Children play soccer along a river bank in Jakarta. Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2011 is seen growing by 6.6 percent from a year ago and 1.8 percent from the previous quarter, May 4, 2011
Children play soccer along a river bank in Jakarta. Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2011 is seen growing by 6.6 percent from a year ago and 1.8 percent from the previous quarter, May 4, 2011

Indonesia is promoting itself as one of Asia’s best investment opportunities, with steady economic growth, a maturing democracy and a growing middle class eager for consumer goods.  

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told more than 300 potential investors Wednesday that patience, diligence and persistence are key to tapping into Indonesia’s booming economy.

After several years of steady, six percent economic growth, Mr. Yudhoyono says that the country is ready for foreign investors.

"We still have to grapple with lots of challenges, poverty, corruption, bureaucratic bottlenecks, inefficiency and infrastructure development,” Mr. Yudhoyono stated. “We also very much aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings. Do not believe those who say we are slowing down, for I am determined to ensure that by the end of my term in 2014 we will achieve what may be remembered as Indonesia’s transformational decade."

Indonesia’s government has worked hard to implement prudent fiscal measures in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis that sent investors fleeing. Concerns about security following several terrorist attacks over the last decade have also eased.

The International Financial Corporation ranked Indonesia 121st out of 183 countries in ease of doing business in 2010. But tax breaks for investors and international certification for products such as timber are helping create new business incentives.

Those advances helped lure investors to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation summit in Jakarta.  OPIC is a U.S. government agency that supports private investment in emerging nations by providing loans and insurance to U.S. businesses looking to expand abroad.

Many of those in attendance say they’re eager to take advantage of the world’s next biggest market behind China and India.

Stuart Dean, the head of General Electric’s Southeast Asian operations, says fast growth, a large population and desire to develop are all to his company’s advantage.

"This is an archipelago, they’re going to be building at least 25 new airports in this country,” Dean said. “They’re obviously going to need a lot more aircraft. And, by the way, a lot more GE aircraft engines to fly those planes. So there are some really big opportunities for a company like GE here."

GE already has more than $1 billion in assets and investment in Indonesia and is making geothermal development one of its main priorities.

Many of the attendees at this week’s OPIC summit want to take advantage of renewable energy and infrastructure deals. Indonesia plans to overhaul its dilapidated rails, roads and port, and it is relying on foreign investors to supply nearly $150 billion for infrastructure development over the next three years.

President Barack Obama first spoke of the need to strengthen trade and investment ties with Indonesia during his visit to Jakarta last November. The United States is currently Indonesia’s third-largest foreign investor behind Singapore and Britain, but Obama said it wants to be number one.

Some say U.S. interest in Indonesia stems from an effort to balance China’s rising influence in the region. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao recently committed $9 billion to infrastructure development here.

Elizabeth Littlefield, the president of OPIC, says the U.S. motives are more pragmatic.

"We’re looking to support U.S. business. We think Indonesia has plenty of opportunities for everyone. This is not about a competition; this is about wanting to make sure that we’re helping Indonesia to prosper with the support of U.S. businesses," she said.

President Yudhoyono invited investors to take advantage of changing demands by looking beyond resource industries like oil and mining to manufacturing and services. He also asked for assistance in development programs aimed at reducing poverty and building entrepreneurship.

With China and India having recently committed tens of billions of dollars to Indonesia’s development, Yudhoyono urged U.S. investors to "discover" the country. His advice was straightforward: stay for the long-term, find a good local partner, invest in people and remain patient and persistent.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More