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May 04, 2011

Indonesian President Opens the Seventh OPIC International Investment Conference

Indonesian President Opens the Seventh OPIC International Investment Conference

 U.S. hopes to increase investment in Indonesia
 The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an investment vehicle of the U.S. government, was hoping that investment in Indonesia could increase through an international investment conference in Jakarta on May 3-5, an official said on Tuesday.

Dr. Lawrence Spinelli, director of Public Relations at the OPIC, told reporters that currently there are 13 billion U.S. dollars of money in the OPIC that is already invested in around 150 countries.

"And, we have invested 76 million dollars in Indonesia. Hopefully, through the 7th OPIC International Investment Conference here, we could sign many agreements," said Spinelli without further elaborating.

He said that there are 120-130 companies that are already confirmed to participate in the event but he was hoping that by Wednesday, the number could increase.

"The companies focus on sectors of services industry, energy, tourism, renewable energy, information technology, construction, housing, agriculture mining, manufacture and health," he said.

He also stressed that renewable energy is his government's top priority as the world is facing environmental issues and at the same time, there are many American companies that have been investing a lot in the sector.

According to Spinelli, the event is very important for Indonesia and the United States as both sides could build network and find business opportunity.

OPIC is the U.S. government's development finance institution that mobilizes private capital to help solve critical world challenges and in doing so, helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets.

Like the previous six annual conferences, the conference in Indonesia will bring together American investors with local investors, financial organizations, private equity managers, partners and government officials.

Source: Xinhua
Following is a text of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's remarks on Wednesday during the 7th Annual International Conference Of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Jakarta as released by the presidential office.

Ms. Elizabeth Littlefield, President of Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Your Excellency Ambassador Scot Marciel


Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Good morning. And welcome to all of you. 

 Thank you Ambassador Marciel for your kind words about Indonesia.  I will not argue with you.

On behalf of the Government and people of Indonesia, please accept our warmest greetings to all participants to this important conference—those from the United States and those from ASEAN family of nations.

I also wish to express my appreciation to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for their excellent work in organizing this remarkable gathering of government officials and business community.

Ms. Littlefield once referred to OPIC as the best-kept secret in the US Government for its talent, its agility and its impact.

Well, with this conference, that is no longer a secret—at least not in Southeast Asia.

OPIC has no other mission here but to pursue a partnership in which the peoples of ASEAN and America are stakeholders.

I am told this is the first time an annual International Conference of OPIC is being held in Indonesia.  A very good choice of location, I must say.

My question is : What took you so long ?  (pause)  It’s about time.

I see this OPIC Conference as one of the exciting by-products of the Comprehensive Partnership between Indonesia and the United States.

When I proposed this Partnership in Washington DC in 2008, I felt it was time for Indonesia and America to recalibrate our affairs into a 21st century partnership.  One that is comprehensive, deep in substance, based on equality, relevant to our peoples, and forward-looking.  This is necessary for Jakarta and Washington DC as we embrace a new international political and economic landscape.  

That is why I was delighted when President Barack Obama announced, during his visit to Jakarta last year, that OPIC would host its annual conference this spring in Indonesia, and I quote, “to highlight new opportunities for partnership here and across the region”, end of quote.

I also remember quite well that President Obama felt concerned that US investors ranked third in Indonesia, and said that America “did not like being in third place”.

Well, that’s why we are gathered here today. And, I assure you that you will all find plenty of opportunities and partnerships here and all throughout Southeast Asia.

For Indonesia is no longer “a nation in waiting”, as my good friend Adam Schwarz wrote in his book some years ago.  Indonesia is a nation whose time has come – and we are seizing the moment with determination and hard work.  America’s Foreign Policy recently called us “the Indonesian tiger … that stands a good chance to become the world’s first Muslim and democratic superpower”.  Charlie Rose, who interviewed me a few weeks ago, also said that Indonesia is “a success story in Asia”.  By the way, Ambassador Dino Djalal is still working to get Oprah Winfrey to say something about Indonesia.

Indonesia is a country on the move.  And when I say “moving”, I mean moving upward.

If you look at our numbers, you can see where Indonesia is moving.

In the midst of the global financial crisis, our economy grew by 4,5 % in 2008, rose to 6,1 % last year - this year, we expect to grow by around 6,3 %.

Our export has exceeded US$ 100 billion.  Investment in 2010 rebounded to an all-time high of Rp 208,5 trillion - or about US$ 22.95 billion. 

Our reserves stand at over US$ 100 billion, the highest in our history.

We have kept inflation low, and we are keeping a prudent fiscal policy, with deficit below 2 %.

Our debt to GDP ratio has shrunk dramatically to 26% in 2010. 

Our credit rating has continued to improve.  In Japan, Indonesia is now classified as investment grade, and I trust US credit rating agencies will follow.  We are also ranked 1st among Asia-Pacific sovereigns by Standard & Poor’s for best fiscal balance.

Indonesia is now the 17th largest economy in the world, and in the coming decades, we aim to be in the top 10 largest economies.  Our Purchasing Power Parity is already nearing US$ 1 trillion.

Indeed, the IMF predicts that Indonesia’s economy will be larger than Australia by mid-decade.

These numbers are heartening, and indicate that we are on the right track.

Of course, Indonesia’s progress lies beyond statistics.

What you need to know, see and feel is the newfound dynamism and confidence in our country.

It is the strength of the spirit, and the resilience of the heart that made Indonesia survived financial crisis, ethnic conflicts and separatism, natural disasters, political instability.

13 years after reformasi in 1998, Indonesia’s democracy has steadily matured.

Yes, it is still evolving, but our democracy has been able to find political stability – something that I know the business community is seeking for.

Elections are routinely held every 5 years, and each time, voting turn-out has always been very high – around 80 % - which means Indonesians just love to vote and feel full ownership of their democracy.

There is full freedom of speech and press freedom in our country, which improves governance due to greater transparency and accountability.

There is also an unmistakable confidence and dynamism in the Indonesian society nowadays – a feature commonly found in emerging economies.  This is in contrast to the feeling of self doubt, uncertainty and inward-looking attitude that once engulfed us during the difficult years.

We now have the largest middle-class in Southeast Asia – arguably one of the fastest growing in the region.  About half of our population live in urban areas and live a modern life style.

We are seeing development buzz not just in Jakarta but also in the provinces, in the cities and the rural areas.

We also have a large pool of young population – some 50 % of our 240 million people are below 29 years old.  Our youth is arguably the most connected ever – the second highest Facebook users, and the third highest Twitter users.

There is also a new generation of dynamic Indonesian entrepreneurs who are keen to bring Indonesia to the world and the world to Indonesia.

Underlying all this is a confident Indonesian nationalism. But it is an open, creative nationalism and it embraces a healthy internationalism, a belief that our engagement with the world makes us stronger, safer, better.

You may have read some of prognosis out there about the nations that will shape the global economy.  There is the Emerging 7, the Next 11, CIVETS, and most recently the 3G (or global growth generators) – all of them include Indonesia in their projections.

All these projections are flattering, but what I remind my Ministers is that these are projections of where we COULD be in the coming years.  We cannot be complacent and over-confident.  They will not come automatically to our lap.  We must EARN our place in that brave new world.

The reality of course is that we still have to grapple with lots of challenges: poverty, corruption, bureaucratic bottlenecks, inefficiency, inequity, and infrastructure development.

We are also very much aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings, and that we have a big homework ahead of us. That is why in my second term we are stepping up efforts and moving to higher gear.  Do not believe those who say we are slowing down.  For I am determined to ensure that by the end of my term in 2014, we will hopefully achieve and be remembered as Indonesia's transformational decade. 

This means Indonesia becoming a stable democracy and an emerging economy.  It means reaching conditions of good governance and strong macro-economic fundamentals, growth over 7%, poverty below 8-10%, corruption significantly reduced. It means rising pool of middle class and entrepreneurs, balanced growth across our provinces and rural areas, food and energy security. These are all the elements of “growth with equity” strategy that we have been pursuing all these years.

As we strive to do this, there will be plenty of new opportunities for you, and for our partnership.

You can take part in the development of our 6 growth corridors that we are now designing.

You can take part in infrastructure and connectivity projects across the country.

You can enter into joint projects to develop our industries, not just in mining sector but also in manufactures and services.

You can take part in our human resources and entrepreneurship development, which is why I very much welcome the United States’ Global Entrepreneur Program Indonesia.

You can take part in development programs that aim to help the poor.

Of course, it is not only in Indonesia, the whole region of Southeast Asia is awash with opportunities and possibilities. 

4 or 5 decades ago, Southeast Asia was a divided region, torn by war, conflict, division and mistrust.  Today, Southeast Asia is at peace with itself and with the world. Cooperation and prosperity is fast spreading throughout the region.

ASEAN has expanded to 10 members, covering all of Southeast Asia – and Timor Leste is soon to join.  To adapt to new challenges, we have produced the ASEAN Charter, which would guide us towards the ASEAN Community by 2015 and beyond.

I applaud President Barack Obama’s policy of closer engagement with Southeast Asia.  We welcome America’s long-awaited accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.  We welcome the institutionalization of the US-ASEAN Summit.  We welcome US participation in the East Asia Summit.

But we have got to accelerate the tempo of our economic engagement.  I agree with President Obama that we cannot be satisfied with where things are now.

The United States has special distinction as the largest investor abroad, and the world’s largest recipient of FDI.  The total amount of U.S. direct investment abroad during the 2000-2009 periods more than tripled, rising from US$ 920 billion to US$ 3.5 trillion.  But 70% of these investments are concentrated in high-income developed countries.

As the global economy shifts, and as China begins to rebalance its economy, more and more US investors need to discover Southeast Asia.

Here in the ASEAN region, we have an aggregate population of 550 million, with a combined GDP of US$ 2.9 trillion in 2009, with a large and growing middle-class, and plenty of natural resources.

ASEAN, combined, make up the fourth largest market of the United States and its fifth largest two-way trading partner.

Total trade between the US and ASEAN in 2010 totalled US$ 181 billion – 39.6% of US trade with China. Indonesia alone, with a population of 240 million, booked a total trade value of US$ 23.6 billion in 2010.

This is therefore a unique opportunity for both sides to advance the cause of the US-ASEAN Trade and Investment Arrangement (TIFA). Under this arrangement, the United States has proposed bold initiatives in the fields of trade facilitation, logistics, digital economy, trade finance and trade and environment. And I am glad that these are now being carefully studied.

I am sure the discussions in this Conference—the presentations of experts, the views of long-standing investors and financial institutions operating in the region—will be greatly enlightening. And I am sure they will yield valuable inputs that will hasten the formulation and implementation of the US-ASEAN TIFA work plan.

In turn, such a breakthrough will make it easier for OPIC to fulfill its mission in this part of the world.

When you do come, my advise.

First, stay with us for the long-term.  We still remember the financial crisis in the late 1990’s, when large amount of capital fled Indonesia, and only few remained during the difficult times.  It took some time for us to recover and reform our system.

Today, some emerging economies are again flooded with “hot capital”.  While these economies have the facilities to accommodate them, we also want investments that will have the endurance to partner with us for the long-term.  That is why OPIC’s participation is so important to help ensure that goal.

Second, have a good local partner.  A good partner who understands the local market can help you manage and navigate through the maze and haze of issues.  In many circumstances, having a good local partner can be the difference between success and failure, between profitability and loss.

Third, be patient, be diligent and be persistent.  I know American companies do not have a problem with being persistent.  What you need to know is that competition can be tough, things do not go as fast as you wish them to be, and the system may be more complex than you are used to.  Of course, if you think life is easy, you went to the wrong business school.  But I assure you, if you stay patient, diligent and persistent, at the end of the day, your efforts will be rewarded with success.  It is also important for companies to have “face time” with their local government officials because there are too many problems that are not resolved due to lack of communication.

Fourth, invest in our people.  I guarantee they are by far the best investment that you can make.  You can ask any investors from any country that have worked here, and they will tell you that our people are hard working, dynamic, creative, open minded and skilful.  When they grow well, your investment will grow well.  One Indonesian start-up company Koprol was recently bought by Yahoo!  When our Ambassador asked Yahoo of the quality of their new Indonesian techies, the Yahoo executive answered that the Indonesians “are as good as our people here in Silicon Valley”.

Fifth, have a win-win attitude.  For much the 20th century, there was an image in the eyes of the public of multinational companies as exploitative in pursuit of win-lose scenarios.  These negative perception need to be rectified and it takes time and examples.  There are plenty of win-win formula and deeds that we can do together, because in essence we both aim for a win-win future.

These include corporate social responsibility programs, becoming part of the local community dynamics, working with small and medium enterprises, and contributing to global issues such as climate change, and the environment.  So work with us, and let us know how we can do better.

In the final analysis, the work that you are doing here at this OPIC conference is an important part of our efforts to fix the global economy.

We are encouraged that the global economy recovery continues as projected – 3,3 % this year according to IMF and World Bank - although downside risks remain.  The growth in the ASEAN region is also heartening – between 5,7 and 6,2 % expected this year - and higher than most parts of the world.

Indonesia is deeply committed to help strengthen that global recovery.  At the moment, some 75 % of the growth in global demand will come from emerging economies.  But this will not be enough.  The global economy will need the full recovery of the developed economies, particularly the United States, as part of a strong, sustainable and balanced world economy.  That is why Indonesia invested in the strong recovery and growth of the American economy.

I understand there are active discussions in the United States about the US role in the world economy.  My advise is : do not retreat from your internationalism.  Every country - including America, including Indonesia - is repositioning itself to find a new place in the new international economic landscape.  The world continues to expect the United States to be a strong trading and investment nation, just as the world continues to invest and trade with America.  This is, after all, how we will secure out “win-win future”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally, enjoy the conference and don’t forget to explore the “remarkable Indonesia” during your brief stay.

I thank you.

US Embassy Jakarta 

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. OPIC helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy.

Republic of Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will open the seventh Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) international investment conference, Access to Opportunity in Southeast Asia, May 4 in Jakarta.  Also speaking at the opening ceremony will be U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel and OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield.

President Barack Obama announced the OPIC conference during his November 2010 trip to Indonesia, stating it would “highlight new opportunities for partnership here and across the region.”  The conference will be held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, from May 3 to 5, 2011.

Following the model of OPIC’s six previous annual international conferences, the Indonesia conference will connect U.S. and regional investors, financial institutions, private equity managers, local partners, and government officials.  Conference sessions will focus on access to investment and trade finance, private equity, infrastructure, tourism and entrepreneurship.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the renewable energy and clean technology sectors.  OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.

More than 200 participants, representing American and Southeast Asian businesses, leading regional investors, and the U.S. government are expected to attend the three-day conference.  Participants include American businesses of all sizes seeking private equity, debt financing or partners for expansion into Southeast Asia; Southeast Asian companies seeking U.S. partners or capital; and U.S. and Southeast Asian financial institutions offering investment and trade finance to prospective investors.

Strengthening trade and investment ties between the United States and Indonesia is an important component of the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries.  Presidents Obama and Yudhoyono signed the Comprehensive Partnership during President Obama’s November 2010 visit to Indonesia.  The OPIC conference supports the Partnership by promoting bilateral trade and investment opportunities and can help further develop the Indonesian economy, creating new jobs and supporting Indonesian businesses. 

The online registration form for the OPIC conference may be found at

Presiden Indonesia Akan Membuka Konferensi Investasi Internasional OPIC Ketujuh

2 Mei 2011
Presiden Republik Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono akan membuka Konferensi Investasi Internasional Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) ketujuh, dengan tema: “Access to Opportunity in Southeast Asia,” pada tanggal 4 Mei 2011, di Jakarta.  Selain itu, Duta Besar AS  Indonesia Scot Marciel, serta Presiden dan CEO OPIC Elizabeth Littlefield akan juga menyampaikan kata-kata sambutan mereka.

Presiden AS Barack Obama telah menyampaikan rencana Konferensi OPIC ini dalam kunjungannya ke Indonesia pada bulan November 2010. Presiden Obama menyatakan bahwa konferensi ini akan “menyoroti kesempatan-kesempatan baru untuk kemitraaan baik di Indonesia maupun seluruh kawasan ini.” Konferensi ini akan digelar di Hotel Shangri-La, Jakarta, pada tanggal 3-5 Mei 2011.

Seperti keenam konferensi tahunan OPIC sebelumnya, konferensi di Indonesia akan mempertemukan investor-investor AS dengan para investor, lembaga keuangan, manejer private equity, mitra-mitra serta pejabat-pejabat pemerintah lokal. Sesi-sesi konferensi akan difokuskan pada akses untuk investasi dan perdagangan di bidang keuangan, private equity, infrastuktur, pariwisata dan kewirausahaan, dengan penekanan khusus pada sektor energi dan teknologi ramah lingkungan.

Lebih dari 200 peserta yang terdiri dari perwakilan-perwakilan dari komunitas Bisnis di Amerika dan Asia Tenggara, para investor regional terkemuka dan Pemerintah Amerika Serikat akan mengikuti konferensi sepanjang tiga hari ini. Para peserta meliputi perusahaan-perusahaan AS, baik yang besar hingga kecil, yang sedang mencari mitra-mitra untuk ekspansi ke Asia ataupun berkerjasama di bidang private equity dan debt financing. Selain itu konferensi ini juga dihadiri oleh  perusahaan-perusahaan dari Asia Tenggara yang berusaha mencari mitra ataupun permodalan dari AS dan juga lembaga-lembaga keuangan AS dan Asia Tenggara yang menawarkan investasi dan trade financing pada calon-calon investor.

Meningkatkan hubungan perdagangan dan investasi di antara AS dan Indonesia adalah komponen penting dari Kemitraan Komprehensif antara kedua negara, yang ditandatangani oleh Presiden Obama dan Presiden Yudhoyono pada kunjungan Presiden Obama ke Indonesia bulan November 2010. Konferensi OPIC mendukung Kemitraan ini dengan cara meningkatkan hubungan dagang bilateral dan kesempatan investasi yang dapat mendukung Indonesia mengembangkan perekonomiannya, menciptakan lapangan-lapangan kerja baru serta mendukung bisnis-bisnis di Indonesia.

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