Bridges Not Barriers February 2021 by Wayne Forrest I often hear the idea that during the past 4 years the US government, apart from its Navy, has not been as engaged with Indonesia or Southeast Asia as many would like. The message: China’s influence grows in the vacuum of a lack of US engagement.
Labor Day 2020 September 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest With unemployment at record levels in both the US and Indonesia amidst an ongoing pandemic I've been reflecting on Indonesia's struggle to find meaningful employment for her growing population of 270 million. Of course, our two nations do not share Labor Day: Indonesia observes International
Preserve Reformasi Commentary by Wayne Forrest Things can come suddenly in Indonesia. If you haven’t been observing Indonesia closely since President Jokowi was reelected with a solid mandate in April, you might think that things would be going well for him leading up to his October 20 inauguration. But you would be wrong, the
Commentary by Wayne Forrest It keeps happening over successive Indonesian presidencies: a transformational figure is elected (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Joko Widodo) who appoints transformational ministers, who propose reforms. But, then things bog down. Frustration sets in, or the person leaves the Cabinet. Growth atrophies and the language of discourse remains in the pluperfect tense.
The principals of 5 US-Indonesia organizations with Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Ambassador Joseph Donovan Commentary by Wayne Forrest Indonesia seemed to be exhibiting multiple personalities during my visit last week as it simultaneously hosted a major athletic event(Asian Para Olympic Games) and banking event (World bank/IMF Annual Meetings) while organizing
Which Way is the Wind Blowing by Wayne Forrest Recently Moody’s and Fitch curiously upgraded their Indonesia sovereign rating while the government fixed energy and electricity prices for two years, placing the large obligations of state-owned Pertamina and PLN at risk. Meanwhile the rupiah and stock market indexes are trending south but Bank Indonesia
Commentary by Wayne Forrest When President Jokowi took office in 2014 he opened his arms wide to foreign investment, ended the costly energy subsidies, announced that building critically needed infrastructure would be his priority, and set 7% GDP growth as his 5-year goal. A key part of the plan was to build an additional
Accountability Commentary by Wayne Forrest According to recent news reports underpasses in downtown Jakarta were recently flooded causing worse-than-normal gridlock. Pumps were not checked and maintained regularly, apparently. All of Indonesia’s tsunami buoys are inoperable due to vandalism and lack of maintenance, an official from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency recently said. The new
It’s the end of August, people are preparing to return to the grindstone after holidays and new beginnings are in the offing. After months of back and forth, Indonesia and Freeport announced a new way forward that –at least for the moment—appears satisfactory; it’s an agreement to move ahead towards an agreement without either side
If I look back over the past year, the story lines surrounding Indonesia have mostly been negative. Of course, part of the reason is that the main principle of the media is that “bad news sells”. On Indonesia’s side there have been natural disasters (flooding, mudslides, eruptions etc.), commercial concerns (halal import restrictions, local content