Cumulative number of reported cases: 4,240,479 (as of October 25)
- Deaths: 143,235
- Recovered: 4,083,690
- Fatality rate: 3.3%
Rupiah to US: 14,183
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 6625
Reserves (US$ Billions): $146.870 (September 30)
COVID case detections fell 25% week-on-week. More and more cities and regions across Indonesia are ending or cutting some of the social mobility restrictions. Vaccinations did slip below 2 million per day and one health official attributed this to hesitancy among some of the elderly. Daily fatalities (on a 7 day moving average) fell to 39 and 18 provinces recorded zero fatalities on October 20. The World Health Organization –as well as Indonesian officials—anticipate continuing future infection waves.
Travel- Business Visas Available Again
It is now possible again to travel to Indonesia on sponsored business visas. A five day quarantine is required at designated Jakarta hotels. A local Indonesian organization applies online at the Directorate for Immigration.
If travelers do not have a local counterpart an AICC member, PT Cekindo (a business facilitation firm, part of Singapore’s InCorp group) can become the sponsor for a $300 fee. 14 days is the approximate processing time.
Contact: Pandu Biasramadhan, email@example.com.
Although Indonesia has opened the tourist areas of Batam and Bali to 19 countries, the US is not yet on the list, due to its rate of infection. However, international carriers have yet to re-open their routes to Bali. According to Bali Discovery Newsletter: “It is as though Bali is throwing an international party, but no one is bothering to attend.” Indonesia will allow tourists to fulfill the 5 day quarantine requirement at sea, where they could swim and snorkel from a boat
View travel restrictions here.
· Garuda Back-up Plan: The troubled state-owned air carrier, Garuda, could see its routes taken over by another state-owned airline, Pelita Air, which would need to be upgraded from a charter to a full-service carrier. Garuda is technically bankrupt and faces numerous lawsuits. Its currently trying to renegotiate its leases and reschedule $4.94 billon of debt.
· Electricity Investment Off: Investment in the electricity sector dropped 24.64 percent year on year (yoy) to US$4.22 billion, or 42.6 percent of the $9.91 billion targeted for this year, ministry data shows. The $4.22 billion in total investment consists of $2.72 billion from state-owned electricity company PLN, $1.46 billion from independent power producers and $0.04 billion from private power utilities. The statistics in renewable energy are also disappointing with new investment only at 44% (386 MW) of the 2021 target. The cascading effects of the pandemic (monetary losses, travel restrictions) is the prime factor.
· Digital Bright Spot: 2022 could be a banner year for Indonesian start-ups according to recent participants in an online discussion in Indonesia with local firms such as East Ventures. Indonesia received US$2.24 billion in tech company capital investment in the first half of the year, more than half of the total $4.4 billion invested in Southeast Asia, according to venture capital firm Cento Ventures. These amounts should be greater as long as the pandemic continues to abate and travel restrictions end. Willson Cuaca, cofounder and managing partner of East Ventures, said that, while the pandemic pushed up internet usage in Indonesia, the country’s digital economy had already provided a strong basis for growth before the crisis. “With or without COVID-19, our fundamentals are good. High internet connectivity and efficient digital infrastructure keep the cost of doing business online low, which means companies can become profitable fast,” he said during an online discussion on Oct. 14. With some 200 million users, Indonesia’s internet penetration rate stood at 73.7 percent in January this year, according to data provider Datareportal. Most Indonesian startups of note are majority foreign-owned as savvy tech investors from the US and other country’s have the prevailing risk capital and appetite. But recently, and in reaction to this investment, Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises Ministry announced its intention to invest more in startups.
Travel Corridor: Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur are discussing mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certification ahead of Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s inaugural visit to Indonesia next month.
Upcoming Summits: A senior US State Department official, Derek Chollet, recently outlined in the Jakarta Post the importance of ASEAN to the US. Of note: “First, we are committed to reflecting the centrality of ASEAN and Southeast Asia in our diplomacy. We know that ASEAN plays a critical role in ensuring regional stability, including in the maritime domain, as well as economic opportunity, people-to-people connectivity, and the rules-based international order – and we recognize the importance of elevated engagement with ASEAN. Already this year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has attended five ASEAN-led ministerial meetings, and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm convened the first-ever US-ASEAN energy ministerial. The Vice President, secretary of defense, US ambassador to the UN, and deputy secretary of state have traveled to Southeast Asia to consult with partners on critically important challenges and opportunities. The US will continue to support the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and US strategy will similarly continue to reflect Southeast Asia’s importance, and ASEAN’s critical role in determining the region’s future.”
Read his complete statement here. It’s a great summary of where we’ve been and where the US is headed.
Chollet traveled to Indonesia met Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Retno Marsudi on October 21, 2021, following visits to Thailand and Singapore
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)