14 September 2015
JEDDAH - During his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) visited Indonesia-Saudi Arabia Business and Investment Forum, Saturday in Crowne Plaza Crystal Ballroom.
Addressing the guests, President Joko Widodo said: "This evening I met the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince and Second Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Muhammad Bin Salman. We have discussed a lot about bolstering bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, investment and trade. We have agreed that ministerial meetings of both sides will follow up the agreements, which means that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are very serious about boosting corporation in those fields."
"We also have agreed to improve ways of communication in order to present the details of the future agreed agenda, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia as the world's largest Muslim country with the population of 252 millions and around 17 thousand islands, Indonesia is definitely the fertile land for investment."
"On our business tour to Gulf countries, the first country I visited is Saudi Arabia because we believe that Saudi Arabia is the closest Muslim brother and will believe that economic corporation will improve in the near future."
He further said "I would like you to be advised that Indonesia at present is focusing on accelerating infrastructure development by building 24 seaports, 15 new airports, 1000-kilometer toll road, 2,600 kilometer roads connecting provinces, 49 dams or huge water reservoirs, 3,5000 megawatts power plants. We are also developing mass transportation in 23 big cities."
"Our state budget is of course not sufficient to cover these huge projects, therefore we are inviting investors from Saudi Arabia. We believe if this brotherly communication is carried out every two weeks or every two months in the frame of investment forum or economic forums, it will soon be fruitful."
Saleh Kamel, Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said: "We are honored to receive your Highness President Joko Widodo in cooperation between Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and JCCI to develop economic relations which is the right way to connect countries and peoples."
He moreover said "I have visited Indonesia several times and I am very familiar with the resources of the country on natural and human bases and here I focus on the human resources as you are the largest Islamic country in terms of population and have begun an economic renaissance for the past few years. We wish success and strong relations between the two countries."
It is the chambers task to develop relations and cooperation between the two countries and now there is a branch for economic chamber now in JCCI to boost the trade relations.
"If we require real investment opportunities we have to arrange investment conference in either Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Republic of Indonesia with two or three months prior preparations," Kamel noted.
"This is an identification meeting that will enable and give businessmen who did not visit Indonesia the opportunity to explore more," Kamel added.
Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairmen Suryo B. Sulisto said: "The relations between the two countries are mutual and complementary. We need more time that Saudi Arabia can explore the opportunities. There are many that fields we can work together such as infrastructure, energy, tourism and more. Business people from both countries need to interact more to identify more opportunities. The volume of trade between the two countries value $3 billion annually with increase of $7 to 8 million increase. From Indonesia trade could be in food such as, fish, meat, fruits and even textile. On tourism, it is another field of investment that could be explored. The two countries can have more cooperation if we have more connections and cooperation. It could be double or triple the trade with Malaysia, as our country is 10 times more in population than Malaysia."
The shortage in trade and economic relations comes due to shortage of communications and information from the two countries. A wrong perception is given about Indonesia as a difficult place for business and investment with a lot of bureaucracy complications, however this is no longer true at present, it was 10 years ago. We are developing procedures and improving and that it is much more easy now," Sulisto pointed out.
The state visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations particularly in the fields of economic, energy, and protection of Indonesian migrant workers and to boost cooperation in strategic industries.
Saudi Arabia is Indonesia's largest trading partner in the Middle East. The visit is aimed not only at opening greater access for Indonesian commodities in the Middle Eastern market, but also at encouraging investors for direct investments in Indonesia, particularly in the infrastructure, maritime and energy sectors.
The President's delegation includes the head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Sofyan Djalil and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung with more ministers and officials.
© The Saudi Gazette 2015