The concrete result of IAF 2018: Strengthening Indonesia-Africa Partnership
The Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) 2018, a forum organized by Indonesia for the first time, has succeeded in drawing up a series of concrete agreements to further strengthen Indonesia's partnership with African countries.
The forum, which at the opening on 10 April 2018 was started with the signing of a series of business deals worth USD 586.56 million in the presence of the Vice President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Trade and other Ministers of Kabinet Kerja, was concluded with additional business deals worth USD 499.2 million. The Forum also recorded 11 business announcements with a total potential value of USD 1.3 billion.
“Indonesia and the African countries agreed to further intensify economic and trade diplomacy and to strengthen Indonesia’s presence in Africa,” said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in a joint press conference with Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita on 11 April. In addition, Foreign Minister Retno also clarified on the various key sectors identified in this forum such as energy, infrastructure, digital economy and innovations, strategic industries, and agriculture.
A number of initiatives will also be strengthened, among others through the holding of various meetings to share experiences and to encourage the interest of businessmen, both at the Government and private levels.
On the sidelines of the IAF meeting, a Task Force on Indonesian Infrastructure to Africa has also been established. The Task Force consists of the Government and the private sectors that will map out and implement infrastructure-related policies.
Furthermore, Indonesia and the African countries also agreed to increase cooperation in the field of financing. Since 2015, Indonesia has implemented a National Interest Account (NIA). Foreign Minister Retno said that the scale and scope of NIA is expected to be increased to further promote the value of trade.
On the occasion of the press conference, the Foreign Minister also conveyed Indonesia’s plan to host Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue in 2019.
The Foreign Minister and the Finance Minister have launched a book “Road to Africa”. This book is expected to be a reference for businessmen in establishing business cooperation with businessmen in Africa. In addition, the Foreign Minister also witnessed the signing of the MoU on Economic Diplomacy between the Foreign Ministry and Exim Bank.
A meeting was held to begin the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) discussion with Mozambique, Tunisia, Angola, Kenya and South Africa. Currently, the PTA draft between Indonesia and Mozambique is being discussed and targeted for completion next year. In the field of connectivity, there is Ethiopian Airlines plan to open a new flight route from Addis Ababa to Jakarta in the near future.
In the field of development cooperation, Indonesia and Africa also encourage the South-South technical cooperation and development. Indonesia has committed to double the scholarship program and triple the capacity building program with Africa.
On the occasion of the joint press conference, Trade Minister Enggartiasto expressed appreciation for the implementation of the IAF which was able to produce significant achievements in encouraging the concrete cooperation of both parties. “This forum is amazing. This is really a breakthrough, and for us, it is so much easier, in accordance with the President’s order to open up new markets, non-traditional markets, “said the Trade Minister.
IAF 2018 themed “Developing Sustainable Economic and Investment Cooperation” was held at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center on 10-11 April 2018. The meeting was opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and attended by approximately 575 delegates consisting of governments and businessmen from 47 African countries.
The IAF series consisted of a Panel Discussion themed “Policy Makers’ Perspective” and a business forum involving the participation of 39 speakers from Indonesia and Africa. During the forum, to facilitate business to business contacts, an exhibition was held on Indonesian industries and products, which was open to the public. On the sidelines of the IAF, various bilateral meetings had also been held to enhance cooperation between Indonesia and African countries.
Foreign Minister Retno targets strengthening Indonesia-Africa economic cooperation
Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi conducted bilateral meetings with government officials and businessmen from five African countries on the sidelines of the IAF 2018 series at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center to discuss various opportunities to strengthen Indonesia’s cooperation with countries in the African region.
The five meetings were with the Vice Minister for Agriculture of Somalia, Vice Minister for Agriculture and Food of Ghana, Ambassador of Uganda to Indonesia based in Kuala Lumpur, Head of BKPM Nigeria, and the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
“The Indonesian government welcomes the development of economic relations between Indonesia and Africa, which is marked by an increase in trade volume with a numbers of countries,” said Foreign Minister Retno.
With Somalia, the Foreign Minister explained that the average bilateral trade volume increases by 30% every year. In fact, it was recorded that the trade value of both countries went up by 80% in 2017 as compared to 2016. The increase in trade volume was also recorded in the bilateral trade between RI-Uganda with an average of 3.42% and increased to 55% in 2017.
Indonesia’s trade volume with African countries still has the potential to increase due to the high economic growth of African countries. “One example of the potential increase in trading volume is with Ghana, because this country has an average economic growth of 7.9%,” said the Foreign Minister.
At various bilateral meetings, Indonesia was also invited to be active in investment and infrastructure in Africa. Somalia, which is pushing for infrastructure development, has also invited Indonesia to invest in infrastructure development in the form of roads and ports, as well as agriculture.
“Indonesia welcomes and plans to send a team of experts to join the international team as designers in the construction of the port in Somalia,” said Foreign Minister Retno.
Meanwhile, the Government of Ghana also invited Indonesian construction companies to take part in the development and financing mechanism of 1 million houses in Ghana.
Foreign Minister Retno also emphasized that the Indonesian Government is seriously pushing for increased Indonesia-Africa connectivity, one of which is through the opening of Jakarta-Addis Ababa direct flights.
This opening of the first Indonesia-Africa direct flight is to be served by Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian Airlines will cooperate with Garuda Maintenance Facility (GMF AeroAsia) in aircraft maintenance and ground handling.
“Currently GMF AeroAsia has cooperated with airlines from African countries such as from Nigeria (Max Air and Hax Air), Libya and Djibouti,” explained the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Retno added that currently the Indonesian Government is seriously working to target the African market. Some efforts that have been and are being pursued include the initiation of a Preferential Trade Agreement with Mozambique and East African countries that are incorporated in the East African Community (EAC) and efforts to reduce trade barriers.
To achieve such target, Foreign Minister Retno has instructed the Indonesian Ambassadors in African countries to appoint candidates for Honorary Consul in the countries that do not yet have an Indonesian representation. “With a Honorary Consul at least we have eyes and ears for economic affairs and protection of Indonesian citizens,” said Foreign Minister Retno.
Besides economic cooperation, the bilateral meetings of Foreign Minister Retno also discussed technical cooperation and development through training and scholarship. Many requests came from African countries including Somalia requiring diplomatic and agricultural training, as well as Uganda in the fields of small economics, fisheries, and energy.
Foreign Minister Retno explained that in the field of political cooperation, the meetings discussed efforts of mutual support. Somalia and Uganda expressed support for Indonesia’s nomination as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2019-2020.