Improvements in Indonesia’s economy entailed a responsibility to contribute to the world through boosting partnerships with other developing countries with Indonesia sharing its capabilities and best practices, an official has said.
An official at the Foreign Ministry’s technical cooperation directorate, Wicaksono Boediman, said on Tuesday that this year’s cooperation would include workshops with “Arab Spring” countries and African nations as well as with Palestine, Afghanistan and Myanmar under the South-South Cooperation framework.
“We want to raise international awareness that Indonesia is ready to share its technical assistance with other countries,” he said.
This year’s budget for technical cooperation is US$2.35 million for 40 technical cooperation programs to improve capabilities in agriculture, husbandry, fisheries, infrastructure, democracy, natural disaster management and microfinance. The 40 programs mark a steep hike from the 15 programs in 2012.
“Despite the limited budget, due to our track record, countries ask for our assistance,” Wicaksono said, referring to requests from Palestine, Myanmar and countries in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Between 2000 and 2012, the government disbursed $50 million for 700 partnership activities with developing countries in Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.
This year, the programs include microfinance workshops for Palestine, to be held in Amman, Jordan, and in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, between April 12 and 19.
In May, water management workshops will be held for 20 delegates from African nations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in Bali; while in June, an international training on democracy will be held in Bali for 10 participants from Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, in cooperation with the Institute for Peace and Democracy.
The programs will also reach out to Myanmar in June-July, focusing on social reconciliation.
Wicaksono admitted that the cooperation was part of soft diplomacy, which in return could boost Indonesia’s trade, citing Myanmar as an example where the market was now open for state-owned telecommunications firm PT Telkom.
“Every month, we hold a coordination meeting with the National Development Planning Agency [Bappenas] on the selection process and matrix of priority, so that [the partnerships] meet the needs of each individual country,” Wicaksono said following a press briefing on the upcoming South-South and Triangular Cooperation Forum (SSTCF).
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa is scheduled to open the cooperation forum, which aims to introduce Indonesian policies relating to South-South cooperation, on April 17 in Jakarta.
During the forum, Marty will launch four technical cooperation initiatives for this year, namely road infrastructure for Afghanistan, microfinance for Palestine, public-private partnerships (PPP) and a booklet on Indonesian knowledge hubs.
The forum will also include an exhibition of six selected flagship programs of Indonesia’s 2011-2014 South-South cooperation.