Many observers say it is no surprise that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done well in Indonesia’s elections, having maintained stability in a country that has suffered its share of chaos in the past.
Indonesia seems to have fared better in the current financial crisis, unlike the pain it went through during the Asian money crisis ten years ago. The country’s economic growth is expected to be higher than six percentage points by 2011, and foreign investment has been increasing rapidly. In the coming decades Indonesia expects to become a major world economy, although it has to deal with its low ratings in a corruption table put together by Transparency International. Emboldened by this election, Yudhoyono is now expected to push ahead with deep economic reform. To attract further foreign investment, tourism is one sector that will need to be developed. Apart from the resort of Bali, tourism infrastructure is lacking. Made up of more than 17,000 islands, the country is rich in natural resources. But again, it is a question of making the most of this, including gas and oil reserves, but also agriculture and fishing. And making sure the profits from these resources are shared out among the people is another sensitive political point. Wardah Hafidz from the Urban Poor Consortium said: “They pay too much attention to the macro-economy. They don’t really, you know, believe in the potential of the poor and the people. So, the informal economy is neglected and then very basic needs like land and stuff are also not addressed.” Indonesia is the fourth most populated country on the planet, with a total of 235 million people. More than 18 percent, however, live in poverty.