Is Indonesia trapped in the middle?

An Indonesian boy plays on concrete blocks for a road construction at a beach during sunset in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 8 August 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Hal Hill, ANU, and Haryo Aswicahyono, CSIS, Jakarta

Indonesia became a middle-income country in 2004. Indonesia’s growth rates — while superior to those of most developing countries — remain below those of East Asia’s most dynamic economies. So why hasn’t the country grown faster still and why does growth appear slower in the democratic era than that of Soeharto? Read more…

Jokowi lacks leadership on corruption

To go with: Indonesia-election-politics,ADVANCER by Sam Reeves
In this photograph taken on July 5, 2014, Joko Widodo, the presidential candidate waves to supporters during the final day of campaigning in Jakarta. Widodo popularly known as Jokowi,  will cap a remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum when he is sworn in as Indonesia's president on October 20, 2014, taking power as the world's third-biggest democracy faces huge challenges and amid doubts about his ability to enact much-needed reforms. Widodo is Indonesia's first leader with out deep roots in the era of dictator Suharto.  AFP PHOTO / AGUS SUPARTO

Author: Liam Gammon, ANU

The higher they rise, the harder they fall. No politician in post-Suharto Indonesia has risen higher and faster than Joko Widodo (Jokowi), whose win in the 2014 presidential elections was considered a breath of fresh air for a vibrant but corrupt democracy. The reality of his presidency, though, is not what civil society, foreign governments and investors were crossing their fingers for. After eight months in office Jokowi looks surprisingly conservative, out of touch, and out of his depth. Read more…

Indonesian village decentralisation is all money no plan

People and activities are seen in Alue Naga village, Aceh, Indonesia, 19 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Blane Lewis, ANU

Nearly 15 years after embarking on its large scale decentralisation initiative, Indonesia has decided to extend its efforts to the village level. Decentralising to the nearly 74,000 villages is intended to improve service delivery performance at the lowest administrative tier and reduce social inequality and poverty. But the initiative is all money, with no clear plan. Read more…

Australia and Indonesia at odds at sea

An Indonesian crew member of an alleged people-smuggling boat shows a table of USD notes allegedly given to the crew of the boat by an Australian official to bring illegal migrants back to Indonesia, 16 June 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Australia and Indonesia both have a keen interest in the law of the sea as both possess large maritime areas of jurisdiction. But this commonality does not mean their interests necessarily coincide. Australia has a keen interest in freedoms of navigation through the archipelagos to its north, but Indonesia, as the largest of these archipelagos, is most sensitive to the movement of foreign ships and aircraft in and around its archipelagic waters. Read more…

Indonesia’s deft diplomacy pays dividends

Regional leaders link up in the traditional ASEAN handshake during the opening ceremony of the Kuala lumpur summit in April 2015. Indonesian diplomacy has widened the grouping’s discourse. (Photo: AAP).

Author: R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Indonesia

Indonesia’s experience within ASEAN has been that leadership in a world of sovereign states must be earned and nurtured, not imposed at will.

Geographically, demographically and economically speaking, Indonesia constitutes a significant part of ASEAN. But these elements do not automatically translate on their own into influence and leadership. Read more…

Jokowi tries a different tack in Papua

Indonesian President Joko Widodo greets freed Papuan political prisoners during a ceremony at a prison located in the restive eastern province of Papua on 9 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Emirza Adi Syailendra, RSIS

President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) has affirmed that special attention will be given to the Papua region, comprising the two provinces of Papua and West Papua. The region has endured a low-level guerrilla insurgency from a militant Papuan independence movement since 1969. Read more…

Cause for optimism in the Rohingya crisis?

A Rohingya migrant walks past the UNHCR flag at a confinement area in Kuala Cangkoi in Aceh. More than 3,500 migrants including Bangladeshi and Rohingya from Myanmar have swum to shore or been rescued off the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh since the migrant crisis erupted early May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Trevor Wilson, ANU

The 29 May Bangkok Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean was widely seen as a failure. This is because it did not produce a substantial set of agreed upon actions for coordinated ongoing implementation by attending countries, and by the Rohingya ‘frontline states’ in particular. Read more…