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Time for President Jokowi to show global leadership as Indonesia hosts G-20 – News Analysis by The Straits Times




SINGAPORE, Nov. 28 (The Straits Times / ANN): As Indonesia kicks off its first presidency of the much-publicized Group of 20 (G-20) on Wednesday, December 1, President Joko Widodo must prove he is a force with which you have to reckon, observers said.

Known for avoiding foreign policy, he stepped out of his comfort zone last month to speak at the G-20 summit in Rome and then at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

He told world leaders that Indonesia, as host of the G-20, will encourage joint efforts for global economic recovery. He also pledged to tackle climate change in his country through forestry and land use to achieve a net carbon sink by 2030.

Judging by his upbeat remarks at home, Jokowi – as he is best known in Indonesia – was elated.

“I felt that there was something different in these meetings, compared to before. There were so many requests for bilateral agreements from other countries. Whether I was sitting or standing, the leaders had me. approached, and they were from great countries, ”he said.

“We need to start building self-confidence, a sense of optimism as a leading nation.”

The G-20 appears to be a priority for him, even as he scoured the country to launch new roads and dams.

“The world will be watching us so our ability to control the pandemic is really being tested,” he told the Covid-19 task force.

In the coming year 2022, Indonesia will host 150 meetings across the country.  - ReutersIn the coming year 2022, Indonesia will host 150 meetings across the country. – Reuters

While Widodo focused on domestic issues during the first term of his presidency, a priority during the second term would be to attract foreign investment. After all, he envisioned Indonesia as a high-income country in 2045, observers said.

“He is a very effective leader and does not want to travel abroad if there is no benefit to Indonesia,” Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Suryo Pratomo told The Straits Times.

“But he realizes that Indonesia must be open and establish communication with other nations because when Indonesia commemorates 100 years of its independence (in 2045), the goal is to get out of the middle income trap.” , he added.

Over the coming year, Indonesia will host 150 meetings across the country, ending with the G-20 leaders’ summit on the resort island of Bali in October.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy is also gearing up to host the ASEAN presidency in 2023.

Widodo has made it clear that growing foreign interest in Indonesia will support its development goals.

Yet it must keep its promises and international priorities, said Dr Teuku Rezasyah, senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Padjadjaran.

He suggested that Widodo create a task force to manage only the G-20, led by a seasoned diplomat who reports directly to him.

“As head of the G-20, he has to do a lot of diplomatic shuttling and webinars with the world’s top leaders and appoint the right people to represent him in order to deal directly with foreign governments,” he said. declared to ST.

Dr Rezasyah noted that dealing with high-caliber G-20 countries would require high standards of management, conduct and good governance, an additional responsibility that could overwhelm the Foreign Office.

When it comes to domestic issues, Widodo is in a comfortable position, observers say.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo with world leaders at the G-20 World Leaders' Summit in Rome on October 30, 2021. - AFPIndonesian President Joko Widodo with world leaders at the G-20 World Leaders’ Summit in Rome on October 30, 2021. – AFP

The Covid-19 situation in Indonesia has since been tamed – from more than 50,000 daily cases at its peak in July to a few hundred now. The pandemic turned out to be the biggest test of his presidency which had taken his June approval ratings from over 70% to under 60%.

Politically, Widodo is strong.

With the entry of the National Mandate Party into its ruling coalition in August, Widodo now controls 82 percent, or 471, of the 575 seats in parliament, the biggest ever support for an Indonesian president and a feat for a political outsider. from humble beginnings.

According to the executive director of Voxpol Center Research and Consulting, Pangi Syarwi Chaniago, this would allow him to move his agenda forward, such as infrastructure projects “without the noise and bustle” of a divided parliament.

Going global is a natural next step, but it comes with challenges for a president known to avoid diplomatic work and public speaking.

“But Jokowi must leave a legacy – that he is not only appreciated at home but also outside Indonesia,” Arya Fernandes, policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ST.

Yet there is no doubt that the interests of the people remain Widodo’s key priority.

Earlier this month, the 60-year-old grandfather of four created a buzz when he rode his Kawasaki bike through the new Mandalika Street International Circuit in Lombok.

In his perpetual quest to promote the local economy, the always enterprising leader posted a photo of himself on social media, with a helmet under his arm and wearing a bicycle outfit made by “the skillful hands of the children of the nation”. He also carefully named each brand.

He wrote: “I look pretty stylish, don’t I? – The times of the straits / ANN




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