President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said that Indonesia and Africa could become a huge power if they are united through concrete cooperation to boost the welfare of the peoples.
"Indonesia is ready and pleased to forge cooperation with our brothers in Africa. Indonesia is your true partner, your trusted friend," Jokowi said in his opening remarks during the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialog (IAID) held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday afternoon.
He said the peoples of Indonesia and Africa are brothers, particularly developed through struggles against colonialism, which led to the organization of the Asia-Africa Conference (AAC) initiated by Indonesia's first President Soekarno, among others, 64 years ago.
He pledged that his administration would focus its diplomacy on Africa particularly through concrete cooperation in the economic field.
The implementation of the 2019 IAID in Bali on Aug 20-21 is a follow up of the Indonesia-Africa Forum (AF) held in 2018, to strengthen the brotherhood between Indonesia and Africa.
Indonesia and Africa must work hard to turn uncertainty into certainty, to face the trade war, to promote economic transparency and integrity, and to confront narrow nationalism with global solidarity and multilateralism.
The President also encouraged equal and mutual beneficial partnership, among other things through South-South Cooperation.
"There is only one key that enables us to survive global turmoil, namely unity," Jokowi said.
Themed "Connecting for Prosperity", the 2019 IAID is participated in by 700 people from 53 countries.
The first ever Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) held on April10-11, 2018 in Bali, Indonesia. has paved new avenues for economic cooperation. IAF resulted in concrete economic cooperation amounting to USD586,56 million of business deals in sectors of strategic industries, infrastructure, financing, mining, textile, aircraft maintenance and trade in commodities. Infrastructure was one of the most highlighted issues in the forum, as both Indonesia and Africa regards this sector as a high priority for future development.
According to the Global Infrastructure Outlook from Global Infrastructure Hub, the investment needs for various infrastructure projects in Africa from 2016 to 2040 amounts to USD6 trillion, equaling to 5.9 percent of GDP dedicated to infrastructure within this period. Meanwhile, Indonesia has projected the need of USD1.7 trillion in the same period.
The Indonesian Government is committed on the infrastructure development of the country by allocating its national expenditure up to Rp415 trillion or USD28 billion for infrastructure in 2019. Compared to 2015, the budget in 2019 receives an increase of 61.6 percent, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. (ANTARA)