Indonesia - 2030
By Federico Giacobbe | An opportunity taken
After Indonesia experienced a consumer spending boom in 2010, the annual GDP growth had increased to an all-time high of 6.5% in 2011, up from 4.6% in 2009. The sudden increase in domestic consumer spending accounted for nearly 60% of Indonesia’s prospering economy, which ultimately allowed for more government spending to take place. However, by late 2013 the annual GDP growth had already dropped to 5.6% and continued to decline steadily. At the same time there were many protests and public pleas for increased religious, gender, and human rights. This along with an increase in carbon dioxide emissions and a shrinking environment became the main focus of Indonesia’s spending. The government’s budget was carefully allocated into the construction of new infrastructure to further grow the economy and to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, in addition to many projects and campaigns that enforce human rights and equality in order to increase the quality of life for all Indonesians.
The decline in Indonesia’s GDP growth rate needed to be reversed so that the country’s infrastructure could be developed, which would in turn strengthen the economy. This was made possible with the careful budgeting of tax dollars and an array of foreign investors that saw Indonesia’s potential to grow and yield them a high rate of return. Several CEOs of western companies agreed to expand their companies and the number of branches that they own in Indonesia by building manufacturing plants and stores to distribute their goods. The result is the creation of a large number of jobs in the manufacturing sector as well the commercial sector. These investors also funded the construction of many new highways, airports, and ports, which allowed for better, easier circulation to take place within the country and between other nations. This ultimately led to more trade with more countries and an increase in the number of yearly exports. On top of this, the Bank of Indonesia altered their monetary policies, lowering their benchmark interest rate from 12.75% to 5.75% by the end of 2012. This was done to counteract the rise in the rupiah’s exchange rate which resulted in the doubling of Indonesia’s external debt. Furthermore, the Bank of Indonesia was confronted with a consumer debt crisis which forced them to limit the number of credit cards a single person is allowed to own, while preventing the issuance of credit cards to Indonesians who earned less than $330 (USD) a month.
Another issue that was addressed by the government of Indonesia was the dangerous levels of smog and haze that hung over the country .In the summer of 2013, a large number of plantation companies on Sumatra Island were the cause of intense wildfires, which resulted in a dangerous increase in smog and air pollution. The haze spread to neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, and forced the closing of hundreds of schools and the need to wear protective face masks outdoors due to the noxious fumes. To counteract this growing problem, the Emission Reduction of Industrialized Plants Bill was implemented in 2017 to ensure that all manufacturing plants seek new environmentally friendly methods of production and to set a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be produced in a year. Moreover, the reparation and reinforcement of Indonesia’s economy allowed for the development and construction of several purification centers and innovative sustainable-energy infrastructures. These purification centers worked to suck in greenhouse gases in order to separate the carbon dioxide emissions from the clean air. An added challenge for the Indonesian government was that of the deforestation taking place in the last of Asia’s great rain forests, the Heart of Borneo. In 2007, the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei signed the Heart of Borneo Declaration, an agreement to protect 22 million hectares at the center of the island from environmental degradation. Unfortunately, by 2014 the rate of deforestation had actually increased, with 2 million hectares, or 10 percent of forest cover lost since the signing of the declaration. This resulted in the addition of the Deforestation Restriction Bill in 2015, which implemented restrictions on the amount of hectares that can be cleared for lumber in a year. It also forced logging companies to maintain the lumber supply by planting new trees in areas that have already been cleared.
In addition to dealing with the environment, there were several civil conflicts that arose. It became apparent in 2012 that there were many worrying issues that were still taking place in the country, including the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, abuses by security forces, people trafficking, and child labour. The Indonesian government applied treason and blasphemy laws to limit the freedom of expression by peaceful independence advocates in the provinces of Maluku, Papua, and West Papua, and by religious minority groups. The Blasphemy Law states that spreading religious hatred, heresy, and blasphemy is punishable by up to five years in prison. It is also known that a number of officials, including within the judiciary, are corrupted. A Human Rights Report on Indonesia stated that: “On some occasions, the government punished officials who committed abuses, but judicial sentencing often was not commensurate with the severity of offenses, as was true in other types of crimes.” In order to counter-act these problems and to avoid constant protests, the Indonesian government was forced to re-evaluate some of its laws in 2016 to make them less severe, as well as keep detailed reports on all government and judiciary officials in power with the hope to root out the corrupted. Additionally, women faced increased discrimination in 2013 due to the government’s failure to enforce human rights protection. To solve this dilemma, Indonesia began several human rights campaigns and by 2017, hundreds of local bylaws that discriminate against women and religious minorities were abolished while laws protecting religious freedom and gender equality were enforced.
It is apparent now, in the year 2030 that Indonesia was able to transform into the prosperous country it is today by capitalizing on its economic breakthrough in 2010. The increase in the GDP allowed for opportunists and investors alike to fund numerous projects and to develop new infrastructures. It also armed Indonesia with the right tools to fight growing threats of environmental destruction, be it through innovative technology, or passing the right laws to prevent any more damage from occurring. The advancement of Indonesia’s cities was followed by the improvement of the quality of life for the country’s residents, which was done through the implementation of bills and laws that protected human rights and the people’s ability to practice whichever religion they so pleased. It goes to show that with the right amount of planning and careful decision making, a country that was originally in the sidelines can make it to the top of the international scene.
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