Indonesia prepares to take over G-20 presidency in December, host summit in Bali in 2022

Indonesia President Joko Widodo with the First Lady in Ngurah Rai Raya Forest Park, Bali, where the 17th G-20 summit will be held in 2022.
Indonesia President Joko Widodo with the First Lady in Ngurah Rai Raya Forest Park, Bali, where the 17th G-20 summit will be held in 2022. PHOTO: PRESIDEN JOKO WIDODO/FACEBOOK

Indonesia is determined to prove to the world its "ability to keep Covid-19 pandemic under control" as it prepares to assume, for the first time, the Group of 20 (G-20) presidency from December and to host the G-20 summit next year.

Italy will officially hand over the year-long presidency to the South-east Asia's largest economy at the G-20 summit in Rome in end October.

Indonesia's presidency will run from Dec 1, 2021, to Nov 30, 2022.

Last Friday (Oct 8), President Joko Widodo visited the popular resort island of Bali, where the 17th G-20 summit will be held next year, and expressed his satisfaction with the preparations. The G-20 is a forum comprising most of the biggest developed and developing economies, including the United States, China and Japan, along with Brazil, South Africa and India.

Bali has the reputation and the experience in organising international events and "as the host we want to serve our guests well", said Mr Widodo.

"We must seize the opportunity to showcase our country's ability to control the Covid-19 pandemic, both health-wise and economic. We also want to show the progress we have achieved... and our leadership."

A series of cumulative meetings over the year are expected to bring together thousands of delegates from all member countries and various international institutions, said a Foreign Ministry statement.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said last month that promoting inclusivity will be on the agenda for the meeting, which will bear the theme "Together, Recover Stronger".

Indonesia, she said "will not only pay attention to the interests of G-20 members, but also the interests of developing countries" in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including small island countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Indonesia will also embrace the involvement of various groups of women, youth, academics, the business world and Parliament, she added.

"This is indeed the DNA of Indonesia's foreign policies," said the minister.

Indonesia's economic growth has taken a beating due to the pandemic, with its gross domestic product (GDP) falling 2.1 per cent in 2020, its first negative growth in more than 20 years.


People take part in a simulation of Covid-19 health protocols at the international airport in Tuban on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Oct 9, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

At the peak of its pandemic in July, daily cases exceeded 50,000, spurred by mass travel during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays and the spread of the virulent Delta variant.

Social curbs were imposed in mid-July and since the beginning of October, daily infections have fallen to below 2,200.

Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto told a briefing last month that the G-20 summit could potentially raise domestic consumption by up to 1.7 trillion rupiah (S$162 million), add up to 7.47 trillion rupiah in GDP and create 33,000 jobs in various sectors.

Indonesia hopes to showcase several structural reforms, such as the omnibus law on job creation meant to simplify regulations on investments, as well as the creation of a sovereign wealth fund which will facilitate local and foreign investment to help finance development programmes.

He said: "Surely this will boost confidence from global investors to accelerate our economic recovery and encourage mutually beneficial global partnerships."