Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday boasted about Indonesia being at the pinnacle of global leadership as the international community becomes more trusting of the Southeast Asian country as it assumes the G20 presidency and plays the peacemaker role between the warring Russia and Ukraine.
"We are at the pinnacle of global leadership. We have a great opportunity to foster international cooperation," Jokowi told members of the People's Consultative Assembly, the country's highest law-making body, at the legislature compound in Jakarta.
The international community's trust in Indonesia, which has risen sharply, becomes one of the country's greatest strengths, according to Jokowi. Indonesia's role as a bridge of peace between Russia and Ukraine, among other things, becomes a testament to the country's trustworthiness on the global stage.
"Indonesia is accepted by Russia and Ukraine to serve as a 'bridge of peace'. [We are] also accepted by major economies despite the heated geopolitical situation," Jokowi said.
The United Nations has appointed Indonesia as a champion of the Global Crisis Response Group to tackle the world's food, energy, and financial crises.
Indonesia is now chairing the G20, which encompasses twenty of the world's largest economies. Next year, Indonesia will take over the rotating ASEAN chairmanship.
"We also can feel this massive international trust domestically. We continue to carry out structural reforms to boost competitiveness and business climate, and also improve our investment ecosystem and boost MSMEs growth. Downstream and domestic manufacturing is growing rapidly," Jokowi said.
Downstream business push
The president revealed that investments coming to Indonesia were no longer Java-centric. About 52 percent of the investments are now in regions outside Java.
Jokowi has been striving to bring added value to Indonesia's mineral ores with a push for more downstream manufacturing in this commodity. According to Jokowi, the nickel downstream industry has done wonders for steel exports which have multiplied eighteen-fold.
Steel exports only amounted to Rp 16 trillion ($1.08 billion) in 2014, but then grew to Rp 306 trillion last year because Indonesia exported semi-finished or finished products. The Indonesian leader predicted that the figures would jump to Rp 440 trillion by the end of this year.
"We will continue to push for the downstream industry of our bauxite, copper, and lead," Jokowi told the conference.
A symbol of harmony
As usual, Jokowi's "outfit of the day" for the Assembly annual sessions is making headlines. Jokowi has made it a tradition to attend the annual meetings in traditional costumes to portray Indonesia's cultural diversity.
This year, Jokowi showed up in Paksian attire from Bangka Belitung Province. The president's ensemble consisted of a moss green long-sleeve top with golden details and a red-golden sarong. Jokowi also added a golden head covering to complete his attire.
"This pucuk rebung [the tip of baby bamboo] motif symbolizes harmony. The color green is to portray tranquility, hope, and growth," Jokowi said.