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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs