A creative economy as a motor for Indonesia’s economic strength

Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy on new economic paths

09/03/2012 | 08:30 - 10:00 | DGAP | Members only


Category: Indonesia

What is the secret of Indonesia’s economic success? What role does the “creative economy” play? And how can Germany and Indonesia cooperate in this field? On the 60th anniversary of the opening of bilateral relations between Germany and Indonesia, Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Dr. Mari Elka Pangestu, discussed these and other issues at the DGAP in Berlin on March 9, 2012.

Indonesia has come a long way from a poor, authoritarian country to a modern democracy with a vibrant economy, said the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu. In 2008, Indonesia was not hit as hard by the global financial crisis as Europe or the US due to its large domestic market and natural resources, and the country managed economic growth of 6.5 percent in 2011. This development has made Indonesia “the flavor of the month” for high investments from within and outside the country, Pangestu said. “But we have to be careful that this development is not turning into an investment bubble. If there is too much capital flooding the Indonesian market, we will have problems coping with it.”

The Indonesian economy also benefits from the crisis-resistant tourism branch. In 2009, the tourism sector grew by 9.5 percent and has been growing strongly ever since. In order to promote a further increase in the numbers of tourists, her ministry plans to sharpen the country’s profile as a multicultural, modern democratic country. “Many people are not aware of the fact that Indonesia not only contains Bali, but more than 16,000 islands. We are going to develop a “country brand” that will show the extraordinary diversity and beauty Indonesia has to offer,” Pangestu said.

Pangestu’s ministry, which was established in 2011 and based on the British model, is also responsible for the so-called Creative Economy, a notion of combining traditional knowledge with innovative ideas in order to create something new. The traditional Indonesian art of batik, for example, is used to manufacture clothes, shoes, and other textiles, and, through the use of the latest technology, exported in large numbers. Therefore, it is not surprising that the main creative sub-sectors of film, fashion, and IT accommodated 7 percent of the Indonesian labor force in 2011. “We want to increase these numbers during the next years and hope to cooperate with other countries, especially with Germany, in the field of tourism and Creative Economy,” Pangestu said. This year, for example, Indonesia participated in the Berlin Film Festival for the first time in 40 years with the German-Indonesian co-production “Children of Srikandi,” a film about queer politics, religion, and women’s rights in Indonesia.

However, according to Pangestu, Indonesia still has a long way to go to make the final leap from an emerging nation to an industrial country. Therefore, the government plans to further improve infrastructure and to strengthen the legal basis for the protection of intellectual property.

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