INDONESIA’S CHEQUERED PAST A BRIGHT FUTURE HAS EMERGED.
I guess I am somewhat of an Indophile. I state that up front as I have been commercially involved with Indonesia since the early 90s. Having been through some amazing times during that period. Most notable was the fall of Suharto or technically his resignation in 1998.
The next most significant point was the currency crisis that swept across Asia, mid 1997. With Indonesia suffering significantly as its currency devalued overnight. Leaving many companies that had $ debt in a very difficult position altogether.
Two companies in particular were evenly balanced each vying for dominance in their market. One had a US partner the other the local telephone operator. I’m talking of course of XL and Telkomsel. XL had Nynex as it’s partner at that time and were reliant on many foreign $ dominated suppliers and loans etc. The result is for all to see Telkomsel motored forward as their debt was limited whilst XL lagged behind becoming the poor 2nd mobile operator in the Indonesian market. Needless to say Nynex or Verizon as it became divested their part and exited the Indonesian market.
INDONESIA THE WAY AHEAD.
However, much has changed since those heady days some 20 years ago. With the Suharto era well and truly behind in the politics of Indonesia. It is the politics of today which are to be revered in this dynamic growing country.
Indeed, on that point there is a sophistication which has emerged that many countries look to when considering best in class. An example; Hillary Clinton during the US election campaign was asked which leader does she aspire to be like. The answer that followed was she would like to emulate/ aspiring to be like Joko Widodo, affectionately known as Jokowi. Jokowi for sure is a man of the people not afraid to walk amongst all walks of life. He has together with his team of remarkable ministers had a crack down on Corruption which has been an amazing success. His Finance Minister is Dr Sri Mulyani Indrawati a senior past Economist at the World Bank, who as I understand has been tipped to head the World Bank should she wish to return. I believe her intentions are clear that she will continue the work that she has started here in Indonesia.
Staying with Dr Sri Mulyani for a moment. Last year Dr Sri received the “Best Minister award” at the World Government Summit held in Dubai. Recipients are evaluated independently by Ernst and Young.
There are approx 1500 World Bank major projects, roads, rail, ports (air and sea), communications, water purification, fisheries, farming etc these are underway in this vast archipelago bringing life to remote regions.
This is a substantial sized country of 260M people. One that you can not afford to avoid. PWC have predicted Indonesia will be the 5th biggest economy worldwide. From my perspective they will be a stable democracy and one of the easiest in which to focus.