Bali, April 10, 2018: Indonesia's commitment to strengthen and tighten the Indonesia-Africa cooperation has been realized through the organizing of a grand event, the Indonesia-Africa Forum 2018, 10-11 April 2018, in Bali. This forum is attended by approximately 500 participants from 46 African countries, International Organizations, and Development partners. From Indonesia, about 200 participants from government, private, and businessmen/entrepreneur are present in the event. It was officially opened by Vice President, Jusuf Kalla and also attended by the Foreign Minister, the Coordinating Minister for Agriculture, and Trade Minister. Meanwhile, in the Panel Discussions, Minister for Finance and Minister for Communications and Informatics were also present.
Indonesian Foreign Minister was a panelist in the first session of Panel Discussion with the sub-theme "Economic Diplomacy: Exploring Innovative Ways to Strengthen Partnership. That session also presented other panelists from the government and private sectors of Indonesia and Africa, namely: Cameroon Foreign Minister, Mr. Mbella Mbella; African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr. Albert M. Muchanga; and the CEO of Indonesia Eximbank, Sinthya Roesli, and M. Yos Adiguna Ginting as moderator.
Starting the panel discussion, Foreign Minister Retno emphasized Indonesia's commitment to translate the good political relations with Africa into enhancing concrete economic cooperation. She also highlighted three main points in the economic cooperation between Indonesia and Africa, namely trade, investment and development.
"We want to use this forum to build as many bridges as possible that will strengthen the economic partnership between Indonesia and Africa", she said.
The first day series of IAF 2018 activities began with Panel Discussions, with the theme "Policy Makers' Perspective", which is divided into 5 Discussion sessions, namely: 1) Economic Diplomacy: Exploring Innovative Ways to Strengthen Partnership; 2) Infrastructure Development and Energy as Engine of Growth and Economic Diversification; 3) Boosting Trade and Investment Relations Through Financing Facility Initiatives; 4) Industry 4.0: Manufacturing in the Age of Digital Transformation-Challenges and Opportunities; and 5) Strategic Industry Cooperation: Promoting Industrial Structure and Development of Emerging Economies.
In the field of trade, Indonesia-Africa has the opportunity to increase the export of various commodities that need to be supported through the ease of regulation and trade barriers reduction policy. In addition, it is worth exploring the establishment of Preferential Trade Agreements. Indonesia hopes that SACU and ECOWAS can discuss the proposed free trade agreement. For information, in 2017, Indonesia-Africa reached a trade value of USD 8.84 billion. The value is up 15% compared to 2016.
In the field of investment, Indonesia-Africa has cooperation opportunities in the fields of energy, mining and infrastructure, while in the field of development cooperation, the Foreign Minister Retno highlighted the importance of people-to-people contact and connectivity. Currently, a direct flight of Addis Ababa - Jakarta by Eitophia Airlines is underway. The Indonesian government will also implement 18 technical cooperation and capacity building programs in African countries by 2018.
IAF2018 is expected to be a forum for the government and private sectors of Indonesia-Africa to exchange views on finding solutions and joint steps to explore Indonesia-Africa's potential and opportunities. Both commitments have been established, and further efforts are required to achieve a solid partnership.
"The key is a partnership. Partnership between Indonesia and Africa, and partnership between government and private sector ", stated the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
The second day series of IAF 2018 will be continued with Business Forum which will bring together Indonesian-African businessmen. (source: Dit. Informed/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs / DS)