By Victor Gotevbe
The vibrant relation between Indonesia and Africa dates back to 1955 when it played host to the 1955 Asia- Africa Conference aimed to promote economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism or neo-colonialism by any nation. These issues were of central importance to all participants in the conference, most of which had recently emerged from colonial rule. Twenty-nine countries participated at the Bandung Conference which represented nearly one-quarter of the Earth’s land surface and a total population of 1.5 billion people, roughly 54% of the Earth’s population at the time.
60 years later, leaders from many newly independent nations gathered again in Bandung in 2015 to continue discussion on building and strengthening collective peace, security and economic issues. This 60th anniversary commemoration of the Asian- African Conference revealed Indonesia’s consistent efforts to strengthen ties with Asian-African countries.
It is in the light of the foregoing, the Indonesian government will organize the Indonesia-Africa Forum on April 10-11, 2018 in Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia with a view to generate possible economic cooperation through a forum that targets all relevant stakeholders, encompassing government, business and other private sectors.
The two days forum seeks to explore various economic opportunities, to intensify technical cooperation, and to boost active partnership between both sides. It aims to offer an exclusive chance for around 550 people from both the private and government sectors and other attending stakeholders, to gather, interact and explore ways to establish concrete economic cooperation and expand business networks. The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Harry Purwanto will accompany the Nigerian Delegation to Bali since Nigeria is a major investment destination for Indonesian Businesses.
On the first day of this event, President of Indonesia H.E. Joko Widodo is scheduled to deliver remarks. The President will witness the signing of business and trade deals between Indonesian companies and African counterparts and hold a business meeting with invited business persons from both sides.
On the same day, the forum will hold panel discussions featuring prominent Indonesian, African and international policy makers under the main theme, “Developing sustainable trade and investment cooperation between Indonesia and Africa”, which will be divided into five sessions: Agriculture, Financing Facility, Strategic Industries and Construction, Manufacturing and Digital Economy, and Technical Cooperation.
In these discussions, invited participants from Indonesia and African countries will be open to share views and exchange ideas on how to better advance economic relations between the two sides, and how to overcome barriers in economic cooperation, especially in trade and investment.
On the following day, a business forum will take place to discuss thematic issues such as; agriculture (e.g. palm oil), strategic industries (e.g. infrastructure/construction, textile, oil and 5 energy), manufacturing and digital industry, and financing (e.g. eximbank facilities).
In this forum, Vice President of Indonesia H.E. Jusuf Kalla is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech. On the sidelines, the event will host an exhibition of Indonesian state-owned enterprises and private companies. There will be thematic business matching to enable direct interaction between business societies in various sectors, including Indonesia’s investment in Africa and the profile and potential of Indonesia’s strategic industries in partnering with Africa.
The two-day event will conclude with a press conference by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event will produce a summary report of the business deals and record of discussions from the forum for participants, with a press release to follow.
Diplomatic Watch will report the activities of the Forum.