11 Dec 2012
On 11 December 2012 the Indonesia Nederland Society (INS) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) organized the well-received seminar ‘Indonesia’s Economic Growth in the 21st Century: Challenges and opportunities of teaming up with Asia’s third emerging market’. The forum was attended by over 80 high-level representatives from both the Indonesian and Dutch government and industry.
The seminar, honored with the presence of Her Excellency Mrs. Retno L.P. Marsudi, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Netherlands, was opened by contributions of Mr. Robert Schuddeboom, Dutch Special Representative for Business, Trade and Industry and Mr. Jesse Kuijper, Chairman of the Board of the INS. Both stressed the need to work on a modern relationship with Indonesia. According to Mr. Kuijper, the Netherlands increasingly ‘needs to look beyond its borders and in doing so we need to look to our real friends’.
Former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bernard Bot, noted in his introductory remarks that he preferred to speak of Indonesia as an emerged market instead of an emerging market. He stressed the long and extensive ties existing between the Netherlands and Indonesia, and underlined the importance of nurturing these relations.
Keynote speaker during the forum was Mr. Fauzi Ichsan, an internationally renowned publicist and Managing Director and Senior Economist of Standard Chartered Bank Indonesia. In his speech, Mr. Ichsan focused on the Indonesian economic growth in the 21st century and the opportunities and challenges for further trade and investment. According to Mr. Ichsan, the success story of Indonesia consists of three pillars: domestic consumption, commodities and the potential of infrastructure development. He noted that Dutch-Indonesian trade has remained relatively resilient despite the global financial crisis, and that the outlook of the Indonesian economy is one of relative optimism given global pessimism. The Indonesian economy is currently outperforming the global economy, including many investment-grade countries. The Asian financial crisis of 1998 has furthermore resulted in a political environment conducive for sustainable economic growth, and the upcoming presidential elections in 2014 are unlikely to change this.
Mr. Bernard M. van Ee, CEO of Royal HaskoningDHV, responded to Mr. Ichsan’s speech by saying that the Indonesian growth figures are indeed astonishing and that we have to make sure that the relationship is reciprocal in order to make it lasting. Ambassador Retno Marsudi concluded the seminar by thanking Mr. Ichsan for his excellent contribution and inviting the participants to take up the challenge, and ‘to make their feet wet if they want to catch the fish’.
As chairman of the INS Board of Trustees, Mr. Willem F. van Eekelen, former Dutch Minister of Defense, thanked the participants for their attendance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for making the organization of this seminar possible.