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What is the first thing that comes to mind when people outside Southeast Asia think of Indonesia?

That is tourism. People think of vacation in Indonesia, in Bali for example. And that is great. We benefit from that. Which is why we run tourism campaigns in different countries. With success: the number of tourists in Indonesia is increasing. But we also want people to think of us not only in terms of tourism.

After all, what should people also think of when it comes to Indonesia?

We want to be perceived as a business location - as a country where you can do business and investment successfully. Indonesia is a huge market, just like the entire region. Especially in times of difficult trade relations, it makes sense to export from Indonesia to the whole world. We have a very talented population, we hold many natural resources, we have the space and we are a stable democracy. We are working very hard to attract international investments.

You are familiar with both German and Indonesian culture. In which aspects are the two countries similar?

Actually, there are a lot of similarities. The most obvious one is that both countries are the leading players in their region and have the largest populations. Both are founding members of the EU and ASEAN respectively. But there is also a long history of positive relations between our countries.

How would you describe the relations between Germany and Indonesia?

We support each other and cooperate very well. Long before the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish came to Southeast Asia, there were German adventurers and geographers who travelled to Indonesia. We have records about this that go back to the 15th century. In my view, this is one of the keys to the positive relations between the two countries: we do not share a complicated history of colonialism. And today, both countries are democracies, have very similar values in terms of political system, the rule of law and multilateralism in the global context.

Indonesia's economic goals are very ambitious. What strengths does Indonesia bring along to make it into the Top 10 or even Top 5 of the world' s industrial nations?

The greatest strength is the people. We have a lot of young people who will help us move forward. 70 percent of our people are aged between 18 and 60, the age at which they work and earn money. This benefits both the economy and the market. The second strength is our digital economy. Unlike other countries, we don't have to grow slowly, step by step, into the digital industry. In Indonesia the process is running in parallel. The digital economy is growing very strongly. E-commerce, FinTech, services and increasingly also e-sports become drivers of Industry 4.0.

Indonesia combines many different conditions and seemingly contradictions. Is that one of its strengths?

Yes, definitely. You could say that Indonesia is a country that is actually impossible to imagine. Indonesia consists of around 17,000 islands and extends over three time zones. It takes ten hours to fly from east to west. 265 million people live in Indonesia, most of them Muslim, but also many people of other religions, we have about 300 different ethnic groups, 700 languages - and all this together in one country. The fact Indonesia is nevertheless politically stable is due to the nature of its people, who are very tolerant. Diversity is part of our DNA. Of course there is extremism, as there is everywhere in the world, but the vast majority are very tolerant and moderate.

In which industrial sectors is Indonesia strong?

The World Bank has published figures in 2017 which show that Indonesia's manufacturing industry accounts for 20.5 percent of the total economy. For comparison: in China it is 28 percent, in South Korea 27 percent, in Japan 21 percent and in Germany 20.6 percent. These figures show that Indonesia is not far away. The difference is that Germany is associated with technology, but not Indonesia that is associated with tourism. We have strong sectors, such as the apparel industry, food and beverages, then the automotive sector, which in Indonesia not only concerns cars, but also motorcycles to a large extent, as well as the electronics and chemical industries. We want to expand these sectors further.

Let us now turn to climate protection. This topic is very much in the headlines in Europe. What is the situation in Indonesia?

Environmental issues are definitely very important. Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 29 percent by 2030. Another topic is air pollution due to many old vehicles. Here, the goal is to expand the area of electronic vehicles significantly: in 2025, the share is to reach 20 percent. And we can achieve this because we have all the requirements and also all the raw materials necessary for e-mobility. To this end, we have several hydroelectric power plants in the vicinity of which we have everything we need to produce lithium batteries. This saves costs and, above all, energy.

Let's talk about "Making Indonesia 4.0" - how far is Indonesia on the way there already?

On the one hand, there is the political-strategic roadmap that establishes a framework for Industry 4.0 in Indonesia. On the other hand, there are some factories that have already arrived there. One example is textile production. In Indonesia, we have a 4.0 factory that produces uniforms from high-tech materials, for example for the military or fire brigades. The transformation is underway, and the basis for this is our strong digital economy with its many start-ups, programmers and so on.

What kind of messages does Indonesia bring to HANNOVER MESSE as a Partner Country?

First and foremost, it is what we discussed at the beginning: Indonesia doesn't just stand for tourism. We will present ourselves as a country that offers industrial development, is attractive for investors and can support industry 4.0. We want to be seen as a country that is ready to take an important part in the global value chain. We are open for business!

The 10 National Priorities for Making Indonesia 4.0:

  • Reform Material Flow – Enhance domestic upstream material production
  • Redesign Industrial Zones – Build a single nationwide industry zoning roadmap
  • Embrace sustainability – Grab opportunities under global sustainability trend
  • Empower SMEs – Empower 3.7 million SME’s by technologies
  • Build Nation Wide Digital Infrastructure – Advance networks and digital platform
  • Attract Foreign Investments – Engage top global manufacturers with attractive offer and accelerate technology transfer
  • Upgrade Human Capital – Redesign education curriculum and create professional talent mobility program
  • Establish Innovation Ecosystem – Enhance R&D centre by government, private sector and universities
  • Incentivize Technology Investment – Introduce tax exemption/subsidies for technology adoption and support funding
  • Reoptimize Regulation & Policies – Build more coherent policies/regulations by cross-ministry collaborations