70 years Republic of Indonesia: Strong partners with growing UAE
The new President of Indonesia Joko Widodo with Vice President Mohammad Jusuf Kalla
Indonesia - Today the Republic of Indonesia celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Straddling the equator, strategically situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it is as wide as the United States from San Francisco to New York, equaling the distance between London and Moscow. Indonesia has a total population of more than 250 million people of more than 485 ethnic groups with more than 700 different languages and dialects that are united by one national language, Bahasa Indonesia.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim majority-nation at 87.2% Muslims in 2010, while the Hindu religion is predominant in the island of Bali. Catholics or Protestants are majority in the areas such as North Sulawesi, Toraja highlands in South Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara islands, the large parts of Papua, the Batak highlands as well as Nias Island in North Sumatra. On the whole the Indonesian people are religious in nature but Indonesia is not a theocracy, it is based on Pancasila and the rule of laws.
Keeping in pace with the current global affairs, Indonesia has made itself active in regional and international organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Non - Aligned Movement (NAM), South - South Cooperation, G-20, and the United Nations (UN).
39 Years of Friendship between Indonesia and the United Arab EmiratesThe diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates are important because both share the values and solidarity as Muslim majority countries and Asia - Africa movement.
UAE's first President Late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan prays together with second President of Indonesia Muhammad Soharto at Bateen National Mosque, Abu Dhabi, October 18, 1977.
The UAE's first President Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan visited Indonesia in May 1990, followed by the establishment of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Jakarta on June 10, 1991. It further strengthened the relations between two countries. Both countries are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), The Non-Aligned Movement, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Along with the growing bilateral relations between the two countries, the Government of Republic of Indonesia opened its Consulate General in Dubai on February 2003, followed by the opening of Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) also in Dubai and the Indonesian Investment Promotion Center (IIPC) in Abu Dhabi. In May 2006 Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited United Arab Emirates and met UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Joko Widodo, the current President of the Republic of Indonesia was elected as the seventh president of the country to replace the previous president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on October 20, 2014, after winning the direct presidential election. The ceremony completed the first peaceful transfer of power between two popularly elected leaders in the world's third - largest democracy. The slogan of the Cabinet of President Widodo Work, Work, Work has been put forward as the spirit of his new administration, of which demonstrates the willingness of the Government of Republic of Indonesia to do better for the sake of development in all aspects in Indonesia.
Along with the greeting on the occasion of Eid-al Fitr 2015, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has discussed with President Widodo, over the phone bilateral relations between UAE and Indonesia. Both leaders also talked regarding ways to strengthen the relations in the best interest of the two friendly countries and peoples. They also exchanged views on a number of mutual issues of concern.
Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with Indonesian Consul General Arzaf F. Firman in Dubai, February 16, 2015.
In addition to the Heads of State's level, the exchange of visits between Government Officials, Member of Parliaments, Governors and other dignitaries of both countries are as well intense and able to enhance and strengthen the bilateral relations in all aspects.
Along with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1976, business relations between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates have grown steadily and over the years a wide variety of exports from the Southeast Asian nation have found a lucrative market in the UAE. As Indonesia's rapidly expanding economy opens up new areas of opportunity, the UAE has emerged as one of its top investors - in sectors such as mining, ports, real estate and hospitality - further strengthening ties between the two countries.
In 2014, the UAE is Indonesia's 15th export destination country or largest in the Middle East, for non-oil and gas commodity. Indonesia's non-oil exports to the UAE in the period 2010 - 2014 has experienced a growth trend of 10.28%.
In 2014 the total trade between Indonesia - UAE stood at USD 4.2 billion, 127 percent increase compared from the year 2013 (USD 3.3 billion). In 2015 (January-April), the total trade between the two countries has reached USD 1.1 billion. UAE's investment in Indonesia (2014) reached USD 25.4 million, 10.4 percent increase compared from the year 2013 (USD 22.9 million).
Indonesia has now become the fourth largest economy in East Asia after China, Japan and South Korea and is also the 8th largest economy in the world on a purchasing power party (PPP) basis. Indonesia is on track to become Asia's next trillion-dollar economy in two years, according to IHS, joining the ranks of China, Japan, India, Australia and South Korea. The Indonesian economy has the capacity for robust long-term economic growth of around 5.4 percent per year over the 2016 to 2020 time horizon. This will take Southeast Asia's largest economy from its current gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 870 billion to USD1.14 trillion by 2017.
Indonesia's economy has proved resilient despite commodity price headwinds and monetary policy tightening thanks to steady domestic consumption, supported by the country's rapidly expanding middle class. The economy expanded 5 percent in 2015, with growth projected to accelerate in 2015 and 2016, driven by a recovery in exports helped by the lower exchange rate and pickup in government investment, according to the OECD.
At present, Indonesia has come a long way and has recorded strong growth due to good economic fundamentals such a reduced output volatility and stable inflation. Indonesia's economic performance has been shaped by government policy, the country's endowment of natural resources and growing labor force (Elias, Noone, 2011). Education has also risen over recent decades. The percentage of primary school children enrolled at school was close to 100% in 2010. Moreover, Indonesia's population is comparatively young. The median age across Indonesia is 28, which is the third youngest in East Asia implying that the working-age population has been rising. Strong consumption also reflects rising incomes, with Indonesians middle class are expanding rapidly.
With armed economic resistance and commitment to structural reforms and with plans for substantial infrastructure spending over the next few years and favorable demographics, Indonesia will be able to pass through various challenges well, and continue to grow at a strong pace.
Indonesians in the UAE
According to the data from the Government of UAE, currently almost 90,000 Indonesians reside in UAE. Little over 50% in Dubai and Northern Emirates while the rest in Abu Dhabi. They work in various fields ranging from informal sector, such as domestic worker, to formal sectors such as oil and gas, tourism, telecommunication, transportation and some others are students.
Majority of Indonesians in the UAE currently work as domestic workers, however to gradually decrease their number, the Government of Indonesia has officially stop the sending of domestic workers to 21 Middle East countries including UAE.
Indonesians in the UAE are actively involved in any cultural events in the UAE as well as in maintaining friendship with both Emirati nationals and foreign nationals in the UAE.
Free Visa for EmiratisIn June 2015, President Joko Widodo signed a visa-free travel regulation for citizens from 30 more countries, namely Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Citizens for these countries can now stay in Indonesia for up to 30 days without visa for tourism purposes through five Indonesia's main airports: Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai in Bali, Kuala Namu in Medan, Juanda in Surabaya and Hang Nadim in Batam.
This new regulation extends the list of visa free countries which previously only covered 15 countries (and special regions) which are Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Ecuador, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Beside visa free policy, Indonesia also currently provide visa on arrival for citizens of these 32 countries: Argentina, Australia, Algeria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Egypt, Fiji, Greece, India, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Panama, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Suriname, Taiwan(PRC), Tunisia, Timor Leste, Turkey, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.