You are here: Home › Indonesia 2010

Gita Wirjawan - Former Minister of Trade

Garuda Arising Anew

It seems a distant memory that Indonesia was once predicted to implode. What was once a nation that dominated the international headlines because of its political strife, economic volatility, and ethnic conflicts has rebuilt itself into one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic economies and stable countries.

Gita Wirjawan- Former Chairman, BKPM (2009-2011), Former Minister of Trade (2011-2014)

While Indonesia might still make prime-time news for outbreaks of violence, those isolated episodes have not shaken the commitment of its over 240 million citizens to uphold democratic government, advocate a market economy, and build a terror-free society.

In 2009, Indonesian civil society groups quickly denounced a bomb attack on a luxury hotel in the capital, Jakarta. Today, there is no turning back on structural reform and vigilant and responsible citizenship.

Through policies aimed at making government more accessible, creating more value in the economy, and distributing wealth more equitably, Indonesia seems ready to assume a higher international profile, in both politics and business.

When observers comment on the dawn of an Asian century characterized by waking dragons and emerging tigers, they are remiss not to mention the garuda, the large mythical bird that serves as Indonesia’s national symbol.

These economies will not only lift the region back on its feet but will also spur rapid development and sweeping social change across Asia.
Indonesia is determined to achieve the potential befitting a country of its size and significance. It hopes to increase the value of its $700 billion economy to $1 trillion by 2014.

Both the government and its citizens believe they have no more than 15 years before the momentum for accelerated change wanes, the natural resource base declines, and its population starts to age. By then, the window to become a great nation alongside China and India will regrettably fade.

Having weathered several crises and realizing the urgency of the task at hand, the government has adopted various policies and measures that hold up the country as a model of balanced and sustainable development not only for the region but also for the rest of the world.

"Reliant on private investment, Indonesia has targeted 'smart capital' or long-term, value-additive investment that creates jobs, spreads growth, reduces poverty, and promotes environmental sustainability."

As the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia engages in interfaith dialogue, cooperates with security agencies to help dismantle terrorist groups, and supports peace efforts in the Middle East.

The country, which is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, has pledged to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020 and has also announced a two-year moratorium on forest clearing, one of the biggest culprits driving climate change.

As a founding member and 2011 chair of ASEAN, Indonesia will play a critical role in regional integration by 2015 and will advise member states, based on experience, on transitioning to democracy and a market economy.

The country has also reaffirmed its commitment to monetary discipline and fiscal prudence in line with G20 objectives. In fact, Indonesia’s inflation has been under control and its debt-to-GDP ratio has shrunk from 83 percent in 2001 to 26 percent 10 years later.

As a nation in which half of the population is under 30 years old, Indonesia has shifted the focus of its education away from an agriculture-based and large-scale industrial economy to knowledge-driven economy. Education spending makes up for 20 percent of the national budget, roughly $25 billion, the largest share given to any sector.

Reliant on private investment, Indonesia has targeted “smart capital” or long-term, value-additive investment that creates jobs, spreads growth, reduces poverty, and promotes environmental sustainability.

As an economy competing for foreign direct investment, Indonesia has redefined economic nationalism by raising productivity of its assets for maximum benefit to its people. As a result, the government has liberalized many sectors that were previously closed and restricted to international investors.

By 2025, much of the world’s economic output and the resulting political clout are predicted to shift to Asia.

With all these major developments in Indonesia, the world could never have predicted that the garuda economy would have reached such heights while staying under the radar.Doomsday scenarios are now long forgotten, and Indonesia has become such a huge contributor to this change that many analysts foresee the country’s inclusion in the so-called BRIC economies.

- This Special Report on Indonesia originally appeared in the January/February 2011 edition of Foreign Affairs

Indonesia 2010 was prepared for and originally printed in Foreign Affairs magazine.

PDF of the printed report

Next :  

latest special features:

Upcoming Reports from

Japan 2017, Part 2

See Preview »

Following a successful report on Tokyo and Osaka, GMI returns to Japan to cover the rest of the country. While Japan, of course, boasts of glob...

Taiwan 2017

See Preview »

Celebrating over 35 years since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United States share a special bon...

Southern California 2017

See Preview »

During his state visit to the United States in April 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed his confidence that Japan and the United S...

Philippines 2017

See Preview »

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations with the United States, the Philippines is widely viewed as one of the most relia...




  • Global Media is your partner in reaching a powerful international audience through high-level economic reporting.

    Our ambition is to highlight under-reported developments and opportunities around the world, and allow leaders in these regions and sectors to take their message to the highest global level. We partner with top media to communicate with the world’s most powerful audiences. We specialize in communication and branding initiatives that help our clients effectively get their messages to their existing and potential partners. We achieve results for our clients by introducing them and their initiatives to an audience of elite international business and government leaders.

    Global Media Inc. is an independent media agency with offices in Hong Kong and Canada. GMI has more than a decade of experience in the writing, researching, and production of promotional country reports, with media partners from East Asia to North America. We have teams worldwide that develop country and thematic reports on the latest economic trends and developments.

    We are a media partner of Foreign Affairs,the United States’ most influential publication, published by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

    Nearly a century old, there isn’t a more influential or higher-reaching publication in the United States than Foreign Affairs. The journal is ranked #1 in influence by U.S. opinion leaders in a recent nationwide study conducted by Erdos and Morgan, the premier business-to-business research firm. Their findings place Foreign Affairs ahead of all media, both print and broadcast, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Washington Post.

    Testimonials:

    “We were extremely impressed with how efficient, well-coordinated, responsive and reliable the Global Media Inc. team was. We owe them a lot for their professionalism. We were very pleased with the outcome, and the article was very well-written. We hope to have an opportunity to work with Global Media Inc. again in the near future.� – Japan Airport Terminal Co. Ltd.
    “The Global Media team’s professionalism was excellent. Their team was great and always gave us the right suggestions and information. The product was excellent, and we were very happy to have such a great opportunity working with their excellent team.â€� – National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS)
    “We were honored to be chosen as one of the good universities in Japan. This article conveyed Seigakuin University’s educational ideals and the message from President Akudo. The advertisement was conspicuous and gave a good impression that Seigakuin nurtured students to contribute to world peace. We really appreciated what Global Media Inc. had did for us.â€� – Seigakuin University

    Whom we have featured:

    • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
    • Australian Foreign Affairs Minister (and former Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
    • Qatari Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed
    • Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshiaki Takaki
    • Taiwanese Foreign Minister Yang Chin-Tien
    • Taiwanese Finance Minister Lee Sush-Der
    • Taiwanese Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-Shiang
    • Taiwanese National Science Council Minister Lee Lou-Chuang,
    • Taiwanese Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Yeh Kuang-Shih
    • Taiwanese Political Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Lin Tsong-Ming
    • Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Dino Patti Djalal
    • Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board Chairman Gita Wirjawan
    • Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
    • Philippine Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile