The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo kicked off his two-day trip to Sydney on Saturday noon by meeting with CEOs of Australian multinational companies, during which he assured them about Indonesia’s supportive investment climate despite global and domestic challenges.
At the beginning of the meeting, Jokowi cracked a joke to break the ice, saying "I don't know how it is in Australia. But, in Indonesia, we sometimes work at weekends".
Citing upgraded outlooks recently released by various international rating agencies such as Moody's Investor Services, Jokowi assured the top executives, such as those from mining private equity firm EMR Capital, Marina Industrial Development and livestock exporter Austrex, that Indonesia is currently "enjoying very good investor sentiment”.
(Read also: Jokowi to visit Australia to boost trade after spat)
Earlier this month, Moody's revised the outlook on its ratings of Indonesian government debt from "stable" to "positive". Indonesia has also climbed 15 places to 91 in the World Bank's 2017 Ease of Doing Business index, from the previous rank of 106.
But, Jokowi also told the participants that the conditions related to the recent regional elections posed a challenge to the economy, particularly when a religion-driven massive rally occurred late last year against the backdrop of the Jakarta gubernatorial poll. The rally turned violent, forcing Jokowi to postpone his visit to Australia initially scheduled for November.
In the meeting, which later continued behind closed doors, the Australian businesspeople expressed confidence in “continuing their expansion in Indonesia", said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Australia’s investment in Indonesia reached US$168 million in 2015, with most going to mining and tourism sectors.
Retno also played down any concerns about domestic politics, saying that having regional elections run peacefully in 101 regions was an achievement for Indonesian democracy. "So, there is nothing to worry [about]," she added.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to welcome Jokowi and First Lady Iriana in a private dinner at his residence on Saturday evening. (hwa)
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