Indonesia is a case example of a success and stable transition to democracy that goes hand in hand with economic development.
Indonesia is a case example of a success and stable transition to democracy that goes hand in hand with economic development. Through the reformation process in the last 12 years, Indonesia has climb up from two crises, economic and political. Now, the country has aligned itself with other key economic powers in the G-20.
Those were some of the major points in the panel discussion on “Emerging Indonesia: Development and Democracy in Southeast Asia’s Largest Middle Income Country”, held by the World Bank and US-Indonesia Society (USINDO) at the World Bank’s Auditorium (23/2/2011).
“It is quite an opportunity to share the lesson learned from Indonesia, mainly with regard to the success of the reformation process and the challenges ahead. Economic development is one of the crucial points in the process that has turned Indonesia into a middle income country”, said Sri Mulyani the Managing Director of World Bank at the opening of the event.
Next, Shubbam Chaudory, World Bank’s Lead Economist suggested that as a middle income country, Indonesia has the all the potential and projection into the future, especially in aspects related to natural resources and agricultural commodities.
He believed that the improvement in the service sector, as was the case in China, is also quite promising. Shubham also believed that the potential need to be optimized and coupled with improvement in infrastructures, specifically transportations and development of a social security system—which is necessary to anticipate the ‘aging generation’ in the next 30 years, as well as improving the effectiveness of bureaucracy and governance.
In turn, the Indonesian Ambassador to the US, Dino Patti Djalal highlighted the fact that democracy in Indonesia has become the basic foundation and best option chosen by more than 85% of the population. Numerous progress achieved by Indonesia has mowed down various concerns voiced earlier that Indonesia would suffer the fate of the Balkan countries, not to mention the views that regard Indonesia as ‘a country which is difficult to govern’.
The Challenges Ahead
As for future challenges, Shubham reminded that Indonesia should not be lulled by all the progress it has achieved. The reformation process is also expected to continue, especially in aspects related to law enforcement and the handling of corruption. For that, Dino Patti Djalal stressed the importance of maintaining ′the spirit of reformation′, including reforming the bureaucracy.
The next speakers, Prof. William Liddle (Political Science, Ohio University) and Scott Guggenheim (World Bank), put the emphasis on the importance of a more focus and a well- directed policy to maintain the current economic growth, especially amidst the various issues including the recent hike in food prices.
From the political perspective, Liddle warned the importance of anticipating the rise of radical views, which could steer Indonesia away from the principle of democracy and pluralism.
The panel discussion, which was attended by 200 observers of Indonesian issues, was a part of the country focus on Indonesia. Next, the country focus on Indonesia will hold an Indonesian food festival at the World Bank (1-3/3/2011). Chefs from Indonesia and the Head Chef from the World Bank restaurant will prepare sumptuous Indonesian dishes for the event