Africa Directorate, Directorate General of Asia Pacific and Africa in collaboration with Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) of Brawijaya University at Malang held a workshop entitled "Indonesia’s Potential Economic and Market Opportunities in Africa" on May 8, 2012 at Brawijaya University, Malang.
The workshop presents Ambassador Wahid Supriyadi, a Senior Advisor for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Prof. Dr. Zainuddin Djaffar, Professor of Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) from University of Indonesia, as the speaker, as well as PM Erza Killian from Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) and Devanto Sastha Pratomo from Facilty of Economy, both from Brawijaya University, as responders.
In his speech, Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) from Brawijaya University, Prof. Dr. Ir. H. Darsono Wisadirana MS said that this event is very important to the academic world and this is a testament to the confidence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Brawijaya University, specifically to the Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP).
Considering the era of global markets, this workshop has a strategic theme, and competition between countries will be quite tight. Africa is a strategic market that has not quite touched and has a great potential. This theme is also relevant to the vision of Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) ofBrawijaya University, as a university that has aspiration to create new entrepreneurs.
The workshop was officially opened by the Secretary General of Asia Pacific and Africa, Ratu Silvy Gayatri. In his opening speech, Secretary General of Asia Pacific and Africa, Ratu Silvy Gayatri, convey the latest developments in the African region which is the antithesis of the negative stigma attached to Africa.
Today, the continent of Africa is a continent with countries that have high economic growth, with average growth of 6%. African countries are also more stable and have a democratically elected leader, have a wider horizon and chose to strengthen the economy instead of thinking about inter-ethnic conflict that would harm their own country.
In addition, African countries also realize that there are strings attached in any aid from former colonial countries besides dependency on expensive products from the former colonial power.
Therefore, African leaders are looking for products from Asia, which has a cheap and good quality product. Based on these things, Indonesia should seek wide open opportunities in Africa. Various factors that underlie it are:
1. Indonesia is politically very close to African countries because Indonesia is one of many countries that supports the struggle for independence of African countries, including the establishment of diplomatic relations with these countries.
2. Indonesia has many products that are needed by African countries, from consumer goods products to construction materials for infrastructure with quality and competitive prices.
3. There are opportunities to make direct purchases from these countries for a variety of commodities that is needed by Indonesia.
4. Opportunities to invest in various countries in Africa in various fields, from infrastructure to palm oil refineries.
5. Opportunity to send Indonesia’s highly skilled labor to Africa.
Secretary General of Asia Pacific and Africa, Ratu Silvy Gayatri, expect that the theme of this workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of the market in Africa, which has not been ogled by Indonesia’s entrepreneurs.
In addition, it is expected that Africa as a continent of the future which interested by Indonesian businessman and a major market for various Indonesia’s products in the middle of the weakening of interest for Indonesia’s traditional market in Europe and the United States.
Ambassador Wahid Supriyadi presented an exposure entitled "Indonesia Economic Diplomacy in Sub-Sahara Africa". In his presentation, Ambassador Wahid Supriyadi said that the strength of a country is not depends on how large the area and population, but it depends on the economic power.
Actually Indonesia is the first country to solve various problems of politics and diplomacy in Asia and Africa, but when faced with economic problems, we always fall behind compare with neighboring countries.
Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that Indonesia needs to sharpen the economic diplomacy that aimed at national economic growth and improving the welfare of the people of Indonesia. Economic diplomacy is a top priority in facing uncertainty of global economic situation and it is part of the current foreign policy.
Challenges that need to be answered is that there are huge opportunities in non-traditional markets, but must be followed by implementation and execution at the operational level by exploiting Indonesia political and economic positions.
Sub-Sahara Africa region is a potential area because of their economic growth in 2011 of 5.3% and 5.5% in year 2012. Indonesia’s product has a big chance due to infrastructure development.
With increasing bilateral cooperation and NAASP, Indonesia can penetrate the African market in a systematic and continuous ways. Therefore, Indonesia needs to concentrate on expanding to Africa that previously has been ignored.
The second speaker was Prof. Dr. Zainuddin Djaffar of Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik / FISIP) from University of Indonesia that presented an exposure entitled "Review of Future Economic Cooperation Indonesia-countries of Sub-Saharan Africa". The essence of Prof. Dr. Zainuddin Djaffar presentation was in 2011 the data showed that Africa is a very promising area, up to five years into the future despite the economic diversification is still needed.
To create a modern economic conditions in Africa needed three things: mobile providers (mobile service provider and can move anywhere), distributive channels, and a light touch regulatory framework (the rules are not complicated and burdensome). Regulatory framework becomes a point to consider and to be applied in African countries today.
In order to increase economic cooperation, African countries recognize the following factors: (i) the importance of a vibrant entrepreneurial class to create the industries and services, (ii) African countries that develop from poor to middle class, (iii) political leaders who are supportive to business development, (iv) Banks whose role is to maintain growth, and (v) governments can create conditions that encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
Indonesia needs to apply the concept of determination that is pushing the products and strategies to enter the African market. To enter the African market, Indonesia needs:
1. Institutions that focus on Africa such as Foreign Ministry (Kemenlu), Ministry of Trade (Kemendag), Ministry of Culture & Tourism (Kemenparenkraf), Ministry of Transportation (Kemhub), Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration (Kemenakertrans) , Ministry of Industry (Kemenperin).
2. The need for out of the box concept, which is different from competitor countries such as through the education sector to develop Indonesia's economy with its partners in Africa.
3. Determination: to calculate the strengths and weaknesses in terms of trade.
4. Collaboration: development of a business association between Indonesia and African countries. Do not be lulled by the equation of religion, for example, but keep in constant contact and communication for close trading partners.
5. Empathy and sympathy: besides focusing on aspects of trade, Indonesia should also pay attention to the social problems faced by African countries.
In a question and answer session, several questions which arise include the links between political turmoil in the African region with Indonesia's efforts to penetrate markets in Africa, a strategy to enter the African market in full swing and promotional efforts by Indonesia’s competitors in Africa as well as measures undertaken by the Indonesian government to build confidence for stakeholders in enlarge business opportunities in Africa.
Responding to various questions, the speaker basically said that the political situation does not have a straight correlation with the trading, because in any conflict situation, people still need a variety of needs. That is absolutely necessary is a change in mindset and attitude of the stakeholders and the business world in Indonesia, so Indonesia is ready to enter and compete in the African market. (Source: Directorate of African Affairs-2012).