Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, vowed to develop all of Indonesia’s frontier areas to accelerate growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, reports Bloomberg.
“We will develop areas such as Entikong, Natuna [close to where it is embroiled in a dispute with China] and Atambua so the world sees Indonesia as a great nation that pays attention to every inch of its land,” announced the President during his annual Independence Day speech in Jakarta.
While Indonesia is not a claimant in the broader disputes China has with several other nations over its South China Sea claims, President Jokowi has been emphasizing Indonesian sovereignty in the area.
The President forecasted a growth rate of 5.3% next year, well below the 7% he promised to achieve when he came into office in 2014. The deficit was expected to climb $25.4 billion, but at 2.41% of GDP, debt will be lower than the figure announced earlier this month.
President Jokowi wants to transform Indonesia, a string of more than 17,000 islands that would stretch almost from New York to London, into a maritime power.
He has also outlined plans to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, which has been the key roadblock to various economic growth, including a roadblock to ecommerce, due to the complex logistics infrastructure that makes last mile solutions difficult to manage.
Second to infrastructural improvement, the President also wants to solve unemployment.
President Jokowi’s second full year budget speech comes only three weeks after he re-shuffled his economic team, bringing back former World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati as finance minister to pioneer a tax amnesty that could boost the economy next year.
The rupiah is forecast to be about 13,300 to the dollar in 2017, compared to today’s 13,096.
A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on August 16. Read the full version here.