Re-elected last year by an increased margin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has offered an ambitious vision for his final term in office. He has promised to push through business-friendly reforms, revamp the ailing education system, and even build a new capital city in the jungles of Kalimantan.
However, the road ahead for Jokowi is challenging, with stagnating economic growth and big questions about his ability to implement tough reforms when his cabinet is packed with vested interests. Civil society activists are also increasingly concerned about the trajectory of democracy, with the powers of the respected Corruption Eradication Commission weakened and proposals afoot to abolish direct elections for local leaders.
Join Wijayanto Samirin, economic adviser to the governor of Jakarta, and Ben Bland, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Southeast Asia Program, to discuss the outlook for the economy, the state of democracy, and Indonesia’s place in the world.
Wijayanto Samirin is a senior economic adviser to the governor of Jakarta, and was a special adviser for economic issues to Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla from 2014 to 2019. Wijayanto is also an independent commissioner of several companies, including telecoms group Indosat Ooredoo. Before joining the government, Wijayanto was the vice rector of Paramadina University and the founder of Paramadina Public Policy Institute. Prior to that, he spent 10 years working in investment banking and private equity. He has published four books including “Bridging the Gap” in 2014. He is a former Fulbright scholar and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Gadjah Mada University.
Ben Bland is the Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. He researches a wide range of issues across the region, most recently authoring the papers “Politics in Indonesia: Resilient elections, defective democracy” and “Anchoring the Indo-Pacific: the case for deeper Australia-India-Indonesia trilateral cooperation”. Before joining the Lowy Institute, Ben was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, with postings in Hanoi, Hong Kong, and Jakarta and experience reporting across China and Southeast Asia over the previous decade.
This event will be followed with networking and refreshments.
Wijayanto Samirin’s visit to Australia is part of the ASEAN-Australia Visiting Fellows Program at the Lowy Institute, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
All Lowy Institute public events are on the record and open for media attendance.