Best time to invest in Indonesia is now, says President Joko Widodo

Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Indonesia is at the end of a commodities boom and in the midst of a "cyclical downturn", but investors who brave uncertainty and venture early into the country will "reap great profit", Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday.

"The world is full of uncertainty and risk - it means that today is the best time to invest... We still have a lot of work to do in Indonesia," he told a gathering of business leaders at the Singapore-Indonesia business dialogue which was organised by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation.

In his key-note address, Mr Joko urged the gathering of nearly 150 business leaders to "invest early" in Asean's largest economy.

The president, who is on a maiden state visit to Singapore, recalled when the Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, many "brave investors" - Singaporeans among them - remained invested in Indonesia.

"Today, 10 to 12 years later, these investors have made huge profits," he pointed out.

In an interview to The Straits Times before commencing on his two-day visit, Mr Joko had predicted a growth of more than 5 per cent in the second half of the year.

The 54-year-old made a pitch to Singapore businesses to be part of his country's growth story, emphasising his seriousness in making infrastructure building the hallmark of his term in office.

Indonesia's first- quarter growth, at 4.7 per cent, was the slowest in six years.

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