"If Indonesia and Africa successfully promote the cooperation, we can show the world that cooperation among developing nations can be realized," Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has over the past few years focused its attention to the African continent and intensified its cooperation with African nations.

As part of its commitment to strengthening partnership with African countries, the Indonesian government is hosting a two-day Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) on Tuesday and Wednesday (April 10-11).

The forum, which is being attended by 500 representatives from 46 African countries and international organizations, served as a historical event, as it is organized for the first time and will serve as a platform to forge stronger ties with African countries.

"If Indonesia and Africa successfully promote the cooperation, we can show the world that cooperation among developing nations can be realized," Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated, while opening the IAF at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center, on Tuesday afternoon.

Kalla believes that Indonesia-Africa cooperation will have bright prospects, particularly in the fields of trade and investment.

Through cooperation among developing nations or South-South cooperation, Indonesia and Africa have started the process of the success through the Indonesia-Africa forum. "I strongly believe that the benefit of the South-South cooperation can be achieved through this forum and can be continued in the future," the vice president remarked.

Industries in Indonesia and Africa can be encouraged to make progress through the existing human resources of the two regions, he revealed. "With a worker-class or productive-age population of more than 400 million in Africa and Indonesia, the prospect of our economy will be very bright," he pointed out.

IAF is being held in line with President Joko Widodo`s directive to ensure that Indonesia can penetrate non-traditional markets, especially Africa. The Government of Indonesia seeks to utilize its political proximity with African countries to intensify economic relations.

Data show that trade between Africa and Indonesia reached US$8.84 billion in 2017, up 15.25 percent compared to the year before. Although the increase is relatively small, it shows a positive trend and significance to the bilateral trade.

"Indonesia needs crude oil, cotton, and cocoa bean from Africa. Likewise, Africa needs palm oil, motor vehicles, and instant noodles," Kalla noted.

Indonesia-Africa Forum is a forum for Indonesia and African governments and business agents to increase economic and trade cooperation.

In the meantime, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi said that Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) proves Indonesia`s commitment to improve cooperation with the African countries.

"For more than a year we have been working hard to prepare this forum. It shows Indonesia`s commitment to strengthen its love and cooperation with Africa," the minister stated at the opening of the IAF.

Indonesia is eager to hold cooperation with the spirit of equality, care, and collaboration, which is sustainable and mutually beneficial. "You may be wondering why Indonesia initiated the IAF; the immediate answer is that Indonesia loves Africa. Our love for Africa is not only reflected in words but also in deeds," Marsudi noted.

She stressed that Indonesia wants to play a role and be a part of development in African countries, by studying the vision of Africa 2063 and monitoring the progress of the African Free-Trade Continent.

At the opening of the event, Indonesia recorded business deals worth US$586.56 million with several African countries. The value of the business deals was announced during the opening of IAF.

The business deals amounting to $586 million cover several agreements, such as between Indonesia Eximbank and The African Export-Import Bank, Indonesia Eximbank and Standard Chartered Bank, PT Wijaya Karya and Chief of Cabinet of Niger, PT TIMAH and Topwide Ventures, Garuda Maintenance Facility Aeroasia Max Air and Ethiopian Airlines, as well as PT International Trading Company and Madagascar Madarach.

At the opening of the IAF in Nusa Dua, Bali, the business plan worth $1.3 billion was also announced between Indonesian and African businesses.

The business plan is carried out by several parties, including PT Wijaya Karya in Niger, Algeria, and Mozambique; PT PAL Indonesia in Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal; PT Pertamina in Nigeria; PT INKA in Zambia; Indonesian Eximbank and ICIEC in 24 countries; and Ethiopian Airlines for direct flights on the Addis Ababa-Jakarta route.

During a series of IAF activities held on Tuesday (April 10), a panel of discussions between Indonesia and African countries on policy making and perspectives on strategic topics, such as economic diplomacy, infrastructure development, financing facility initiatives, digital transformation, and strategic industries, will be held.

In the forum, ministers, high-level officials, CEOs, bankers, and leaders of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Indonesia and African countries will discuss and exchange ideas.

Minister Retno Marsudi has welcomed CEOs and business representatives from Africa, including Ethiopian Airlines, Topwide Ventures Limited, Africa Export-Import Bank, and Amirco Commercial Service.

Furthermore, on the second day of the IAF on Wednesday (April 11), an Indonesia-Africa Business Forum will be held to discuss important topics, such as connectivity, digital economy, agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises, South-South and Triangular Cooperation, and the future of Indonesia-Africa economic relations.


Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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