INDONESIA possesses the potential to formulate a strengthened trading alliance with Australia in the near future, a factor that could be boosted if presidential hopeful General Wiranto is elected in that country’s upcoming elections.
With a population of more than 220 million and an economy running at its lowest for a few years, there is only one direction for economic growth, and that is north.
At conclusion of the 2003 fiscal year, Indonesia’s economic growth was measured at 4.1 per cent. A figure forced into the shadows by the competitive growth rate posted by neighboring nations.
But investor confidence will no doubt receive a boost and issues currently plaguing the nation’s growth will face reformation, if General Wiranto is elected.
From my meetings with him General Wiranto comes across as a man with a keen interest in economic and political stability, and democracy in Indonesia.
He has a strong focus on the current economic situation in Indonesia, and places democracy and economic revival as a priority.
He plans to do this through foreign investment, and understands that there is a strong urgency for reform in a number of areas. Encouraging and protecting foreign investment and foreign interests in Indonesia will achieve a high level of confidence under his leadership.
General Wiranto says it is his dream to deliver democracy to Indonesians and, if elected, he will provide a strategic plan that will demonstrate this.
Business between Australia and Indonesia has declined dramatically in recent years. General Wiranto believes export activities are a strategically important component of business, and are therefore significant to Indonesia’s economy.
He believes that there are opportunities for Australia and Indonesia in a number of areas, among them infrastructure.
He is aware that Australia is very competitive, and offers cost effective and innovative products.
He is also keen on education for Indonesians, and believes that Australia plays an important role, suggesting this role can be expanded.
This, I believe, provides an opportunity for a much-needed dialogue. He also has expressed interest in visiting Australia.
This could provide an opportunity in terms of bilateral trade development, an area that I have worked on for a few years.
General Wiranto comes across as a strong and decisive leader, who will lead Indonesia to a better future. but will also work closely with his neighbors.
Jobs for Indonesians are also part of his dialogue.
One aspect close to him, is the environment and agriculture. He is well informed in these areas, and this also forms part of his strategic plan for Indonesia.
Of course he has a big picture image for Indonesia, and Indonesians, and believes that he will provide the framework for a safer Indonesia.