INDONESIA is an emerging country of 1.9 million square kilometers, with the world’s
fourth-largest population at around 240 million people and South East Asia’s biggest
INDONESIA consists of five major and more than 17,500 smaller islands extending over
3,900 miles (equivalent to Oregon USA to Bermuda).
There are mountains, volcanoes, jungles, swamplands, plantations, palm-fringed beaches,
huge expanses of rich agricultural plains, coral reefs, superb waterways and much
more – most of it stunningly beautiful.
Indonesia has 30 provinces and two special regions, with more than 300 ethnic groups
speaking some 530 languages and dialects, but the official national language is Bahasa
Indonesia, a modified form of Malay. About 86% of the population is Muslim, making
it the largest Muslim population in the world. The Indonesian people generally are
noted for being warm, hospitable and helpful.
About Emerging Indonesia
HALF of Indonesia’s population is under 30 years of age.
Muslim 86%, Protestant 5.7%, Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, Buddhist 1%, others 1%
Indonesia spans three time zones, GMT+7 (West), GMT+8 (Central) and GMT+9 (East).
Batam is GMT+7. Please note that this means the local time on Batam is one hour BEHIND
the officially designated local time in Singapore.
Map courtesy of www.worldatlas.comFor an even larger map with more detail, and
showing the locations of major provincial centres, go to:Asia Atlas
Indonesia became a dem-ocracy after the fall of the military-backed Suharto “New
Order” regime in 1998 and thus ranks as the world’s third-largest democracy and one
of its newest.
Presidential elections and elections to the dual chamber legislature are conducted
each five years, with the next due in 2014.
However, under a decentral-ization program since 2002, regencies and municipalities
have become key adminis-trative units responsible for providing most government services.
Indonesia grew an estimated 6.1% and 6.4% in 2010 and 2011, respectively, and the
government is forecasting growth of up to 6.7% for 2012.
On a purchasing parity basis, the economy is estimated to rank 15th largest in the
world in 2012, up from 18th in 2010, and Indonesia is a member of the G20. GDP per
capita (by purchasing power parity) rose to an estimated US$4,700 in 2011.
The government has announced a 15-year infrastructure development program aimed at
taking Indonesia into the economic “Top 10” by about 2025. A Citibank study published
in the first half of 2012 projected Indonesia’s GDP in 2040 at US$8.27 trillion,
which it says by then would make it the fourth-largest economy in the world.
During the global financial crisis, Indonesia outperformed its regional neighbors
and joined China and India as one of the few G20 members posting growth in 2009.
The government has promoted fiscally conservative policies, resulting in a debt-to-GDP
ratio of less than 25%, a small current account surplus, a fiscal deficit below 2%,
and historically low rates of inflation. Fitch and Moody's upgraded Indonesia's credit
rating to investment grade in December 2011.
Country of Contrasts
ITS SIZE and the ethnic and cultural diversity make Indonesia a country of contrasts.
The skyscrapers of modern, bustling Jakarta and the broad avenues and monumental
buildings of provincial capitals exist side-by-side with urban squatter villages
and the kampungs of the countryside.
Rich in resources, Indonesia is a country in transition from the traditional to a
place in today’s global society and economy. Despite its great progress, Indonesia
remains essentially a poor country - for most citizens, pay rates are low, unemployment
and under-employment are high and infrastructure is often lacking, particularly outside
the big cities. There are very few of the publicly funded welfare support systems
typical of developed Western countries.
This means that many Indonesians have little choice but to live off individual effort
and their wits, and they have become adept at parting visiting fools from their money
– not out of malice but simply out of necessity.
It also means that prices for most things in Indonesia (e.g., food, drinks, accommodation,
fuel, transport, entertainment) are very low, particularly if you are buying with
a relatively strong currency like the $US, the $AUD, the SGD$ or GB Pounds.
As in many developing countries, there also is an entrenched level of corruption,
particularly at lower administrative levels, and a complex regulatory envir-onment.
These, together with unequal resource distribution among regions and the pressing
need for upgraded infrastructure to reduce impediments to economic growth, are major
challenges facing the government.
Indonesia suffered greatly from the impact of the Asian Economic Crisis of 1997-98.
However, the years since have seen hard-won but steady economic recovery, rising
confidence and a remarkable transition to a democratic system of government, which,
together with a willing and increasingly well-educated younger gener-ation, offers
great hope for the future.
Click on pictures to enlarge
Flag of Indonesia - the Red and White
THE soaring skyline of the Jakarta Central Business District (above) and close by
(right) the squatter shacks of the city’s poor
THE diversity, the richness and the beauty of the Indonesian landscape - rice paddy
terraces on Bali, harvesting palm oil, and tea gardens near Bandung
INDONESIA exports massive quantities of coal, tin, gold and copper, with mining representing
around 12% of the national economy