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Asia Minute: Indonesia Wants Your Money

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

Indonesia is one of the Asian economies hit by China’s currency devaluation. It’s been a busy week for the president—who has already shaken up his cabinet and is about to deliver his first State of the Union address. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Joko Widodo has been president of Indonesia for less than a year. He’s the first president of the country to not come from the military or the politically-connected elite. He used to run a furniture business in Jakarta, where he later became mayor.

Since he became president in October, Indonesia’s economy has had a rough time. Growth is at a six-year low. The main stock index is down 19% since early April.

Just this week, after China devalued its currency, the rupiah touched its lowest level since 1998.

Investors have been disappointed at a lack of promised economic reforms.

On Wednesday, Widodo tried to address those concerns making half a dozen changes to his cabinet including two key business-related positions.

He named a former central bank governor as economic minister and as trade minister, picked a private equity investor based in Singapore.

Both ministers have international experience, reflecting the president’s desire to draw more international investment to Indonesia—especially for large infrastructure projects.

He’ll have a chance to make another impression on that investor audience as well as Indonesian citizens this week.

On Friday he presents his budget, and his first state of the union address.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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